Boston – Bidding for offshore oil and gas leases could expand to more federal waters, including an area off the coast of Massachusetts, under a draft plan released by the Trump administration today.
Environment Massachusetts denounced the plan, which would open vast new areas of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico to drilling. These areas could include Georges Bank, a wildlife-rich region of the North Atlantic near Massachusetts.
“Oil and gas drilling is an inherently dirty and dangerous business. There is simply no safe way to drill,” said Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts. “By allowing offshore drilling in more of our coastal waters, the Trump administration increases the chances of a dangerous oil spill. Opening these areas to drilling endangers sea life including whales, dolphins, and sea turtles, as well as the life and livelihoods of Bay Staters and all Americans in coastal communities.”
Public opposition to the proposed plan could still make a difference. It did during the Obama administration.
During President Barack Obama’s second term, his administration created a five-year plan that protected the Atlantic and Arctic from drilling, and announced additional protections for parts of the Arctic and Atlantic shortly before leaving office. Last year, President Donald Trump signed an executive order vacating these additional protections. The matter is currently being litigated.
Today’s proposed plan is only the second stage in the approval process. Once the Trump administration formally releases the plan, the public will have an opportunity to comment.
“Everyone who cares about clean and healthy oceans should make his or her voice heard by commenting against this proposal,” said Hellerstein. “We will stand up for our coasts by fighting to stop this plan.”