Senator Millett signs letter opposing proposed offshore drilling program

Posted: March 19, 2018 | Senator Millett

Sen. Millett joins over 200 members of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators in opposing this initiative

Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth 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.

“This is not a partisan issue – a majority of coastal governors of both parties have already spoken out against President Trump’s offshore drilling proposal,” said Sen. Millett. “As state lawmakers, we have a responsibility to stand up and state on record that we oppose this plan. Protecting Maine’s miles of beaches and working waterfront is essential for the future of our state and economy.”

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 million 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 delegation in opposition to this proposal. Sen. Millett spoke on the Senate floor about this resolution. Her remarks can be viewed at: Gov. LePage, however, is the only governor along the Atlantic coast to support this proposal.