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Gov. Cuomo formally requests NY exemption from offshore drilling

17 January 2018

With these scenarios in mind, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a formal request on Monday for NY to be exempted from the Trump administration's proposed plan to expand offshore oil drilling to every coastal state.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced earlier this month the offshore leasing expansion would encompass around 90 percent of the USA coast.

"Rather than working against us to thwart New York's clean energy goals and hinder one of our state's most promising emerging industries, I urge your department to continue focusing on our collaborative efforts to establish new areas for offshore wind energy development", he said. The Democratic governor says the Republican administration's drilling plan "is trampling on the interests of New Yorkers and threatening the future wellbeing of our state".

Other states are now making similar claims, and Cuomo pointed to the importance of a healthy coastline to New York's economy.

The governor also pointed to the department's sudden exemption of Florida from the new offshore drilling plan as an example that more research needed to be done.

In his letter to Zinke issued on Monday, Cuomo wrote in part, "Your decision to remove Florida from consideration of any new oil and gas platforms before your department has even concluded its public fact-finding process appears arbitrary".

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Most other states along the Atlantic coast, like Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and NY, have tourist industries that contribute between 4 and 6 percent of their GDP. Critics have charged it was done to benefit Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is considering a campaign for Senate. Whales are now commonly spotted off New York City, a sight unimaginable only a decade ago, and just this week two of the world's 450 remaining North Atlantic Right whales were observed off Montauk. "We shouldn't be playing politics with the future of Florida". Under the current lease plan, released by former President Barack Obama, the Trump administration, a vocal supporter of the fossil fuels industry, said about 90 percent of the total acreage offshore was put off limits.

Besides the Atlantic, the draft plan calls for 19 lease sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific Ocean and 12 in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Florida", he said, "should not be given special status because the president is friends with Gov. Scott".

"This is a start on looking at American energy dominance", Zinke said when announcing the proposal.

Meanwhile, New York City is divesting from oil-related companies and is suing five of the biggest oil companies. The New York meeting is set for Feb.15 from 3 to 7 p.m.at the Albany Hilton, 40 Lodge St., Albany.

Gov. Cuomo formally requests NY exemption from offshore drilling