Chenette pushes to ban offshore oil drilling in state waters

Posted: January 10, 2019 | Environment and Natural Resources, Senator Chenette

AUGUSTA – Sen. Justin Chenette has introduced a measure to protect Maine’s coastal environment from offshore oil and gas production infrastructure.

States can’t prevent the federal government from opening up drilling in federal waters, but states can prevent the infrastructure necessary to transport oil and gas production through state waters. The bill would also ban any land-based support structures aiding in the offshore oil drilling process.

“An Act to Protect Maine’s Coastal Environment from Offshore Oil and Gas Production Infrastructure” is working its way through the drafting phase and will soon be ready to be sent to committee for a public hearing. If other legislators introduced similar measures, the bills will be combined into one joint effort.

“It is clear we can’t trust the federal government when it comes to protecting our most precious resources along Maine’s coast,” said Sen. Chenette, who is a member of the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “It would take only one oil spill to send our tourism and marine-based economy into a tailspin.”

New Jersey became the first state to ban offshore drilling within state waters last year, followed shortly by actions in Delaware, Maryland, California and Florida. This legislation is modeled after efforts in those states.

Sen. Chenette is serving his second term in the Maine Senate, representing the communities of Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington and Buxton.