WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works long opposed to offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, today released the following statement in response to the Department of the Interior’s actions intended to allow offshore drilling along the East Coast.
“I am disgusted – but not surprised – by the Trump Administration’s machinations to allow drilling along our Atlantic Coast. This move comes only a week after the administration repealed safety regulations implemented by the Obama Administration to prevent another Deepwater Horizon disaster, and it needlessly places countless coastal communities, thriving local economies, and our invaluable fish and wildlife resources at extreme risk. Sadly, spill events resulting from oil and gas drilling and shipment are a daily occurrence in this country, and very few places are immune to this threat. Having recently needlessly opened one unspoiled landscape, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to drilling in the name of pursuing the energy security from which we already benefit, the Trump Administration is now placing the entire East Coast in similar crosshairs. The administration’s actions are as ignorant of common sense and scientific realities as they are of the widespread public opposition to Atlantic offshore drilling. These moves also come despite Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s promises during his confirmation process to be highly mindful of local input when managing public lands and waters. This move is the type of publicly unsupported action we already have seen time and again from this Interior Department, which clearly places the desires of oil, gas, coal and mineral extraction executives above those of average Americans and the places they hold dear. As a person who loves and has spent my career working to protect and improve the Chesapeake Bay, I cannot condemn this maneuver in any stronger terms. I urge the Trump Administration and Interior Department to reverse course on this decision immediately, and to put the will of the American people and health of the natural world above the pipe dreams of his comrades in the fossil fuel industry – for once.”