New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called Trump administration plans to expand offshore drilling a “very, very dumb idea,” even as the state threatens to bring forward a lawsuit.
“Offshore drilling is a really really dumb idea. That’s my professional comment,” Cuomo said at a press conference with former Vice President Al Gore on Friday. “Now instead of protecting our waters from another oil spill like the one that devastated the Gulf, this new federal plan only increases the chances of another disaster taking place.”
Cuomo said the plan would move the country “backwards” in only negative ways.
“They have a glorified retrospective view of America,” Cuomo said of the federal government’s logic for the proposed plan to expand offshore oil and natural gas leasing. “Let’s go back to the good old days where I was 22 years old and I smoked two packs of Camels before I developed lung cancer, that is the sad analogy. Going backwards is going back to when we did tremendous damage to this planet.”
Cuomo called the new plan, first posed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in January, a “state of denial” and representative of a “disturbing pattern.” He mentioned the administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement last year as another example.
“They are showing a total disregard for the science, the reality and the history — their actions defy everything we know,” he said.
Zinke said the plan to expand was a step toward making the U.S. “the strongest energy superpower.”
“This is a start on looking at American energy dominance and looking at our offshore assets and beginning a dialogue of when, how, where and how fast those offshore assets should be, or could be, developed,” Zinke said in January.
Cuomo is one of a number of governors, including many Republicans, who have vocally opposed Zinke’s plan, fearing the environmental repercussions of new drilling.
When filing the comments Friday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said that his office would use “all appropriate legal avenues to vigorously oppose the department’s program” if New York isn’t exempted from offshore drilling.
“The Trump administration’s plan to turn over New York’s coast to big oil threatens our environment and our economy — and I stand ready to use the full power of my office to fight back if the administration won’t listen to New Yorkers’ opposition,” Schneiderman said.
“The Trump administration must follow the law and eliminate New York’s coastal waters from its senseless and dangerous drilling plan. If the administration refuses, I will act to ensure our state’s economy, environment, and natural resources are protected.”
In February, Schneiderman and 12 other coastal states sent a joint letter to Zinke, asking him to terminate the proposed drilling plan.