WASHINGTON – On Earth Day and the week of the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf Coast, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-Md.), Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (Both D-NJ), Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren (Both D-Mass.), Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse (both D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act. The legislation prohibits the U.S. Department of the Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas in the North, Mid-, or South Atlantic Ocean. Earlier this year, the Obama Administration announced plans to open parts of the Atlantic Ocean to offshore oil and gas drilling.
“Oil spills do not respect state boundaries, making the risks of drilling off the Atlantic Coast far greater than the rewards,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We are still trying to clean up after the BP oil spill. The Chesapeake Bay, which generates more than $1 trillion in economic activity for the Mid-Atlantic region, does not need yet another threat to its future health and vitality.”
“I am absolutely opposed to offshore drilling and always will be,” Senator Mikulski said. “Offshore drilling can devastate the environment, harming our unique and fragile coastline and wreaking havoc on the coastal communities whose economies rely heavily on tourism. Drilling along the Eastern Seaboard could pose great risks to the coastal economy of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. I’m proud to support this legislation, and will keep fighting to protect Maryland’s beaches, precious waterways and tourism economy.”