Sen. Breen signs letter opposing proposed offshore drilling program

Posted: March 06, 2018 | Senator Breen

AUGUSTA — Earlier this week, Sen. Cathy Breen of Falmouth joined over 200 members of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators opposing the Trump Administration’s proposal to increase offshore drilling. In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, state lawmakers outlined the serious threats this proposal would have on the economy and environment of many states along the coast. Lawmakers urged Zinke to consider additional carve-outs for other coastal states after the administration removed Florida from the original plan.

“Our economy depends on Maine’s rich natural resources from our miles of beaches and state parks to our fresh seafood,” said Sen. Breen. “This egregious proposal would have disastrous consequences for Maine. We live in an age where there are a number of avenues we can explore to reduce energy costs for people across the state without causing irreparable damage to our environment and economy. I am proud to join my fellow coastal state legislators in opposition to this backward proposal.”

The Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024 would open 90 percent of the nation’s coastal waters to offshore drilling. Aside from the risk of spills, offshore drilling releases a number of pollutant and chemicals into the water, which adversely affects marine life.

Much like Florida, Maine’s economy relies on the state’s miles of coastline and natural resources. In 2016, Maine’s tourism industry brought in an estimated $6 billion into the economy, with 35.8 tourists visiting the state. In 2017, Maine’s fishing and lobster industries hauled in an estimated $570 million, based on preliminary data.

For these reasons, the Maine Legislature passed a resolution last week calling for the Trump Administration to exclude Maine waters from the new offshore drilling proposal. Maine state lawmakers join Maine’s entire congressional in opposition to this proposal. Gov. LePage, however, is the only governor along the Atlantic coast to support this proposal.

The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management will be holding a public hearing on this rule change on March 7, 2018, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center. Interested parties can submit public comment on this rule change by going to