U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy Connecticut joined their New England colleagues in backing a bill that would ban offshore drilling along the New England coast.The New England Coastal Protection Act, which was introduced by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, came in response to an action by the Trump administration that would open offshore oil and gas leasing to approximately 90 percent of the U.S. coastlines. The plan was amended to exclude the Florida coastlines following a complaint filed by Rick Scott, the state’s Republican governor. Blumenthal and Murphy joined a group of 22 senators in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke demanding their states be granted the same consideration as Florida.
“President Trump’s disastrous and irresponsible proposal has the potential to devastate economies and environments up and down the New England coast,” said Blumenthal in a statement. “Our coastline should be protected as a vital tourism, fishing, and environmental resource – not exposed to the dangers of oil spills or drilling pollution. President Trump’s blatant effort to benefit Big Oil must be met with renewed determination from Congress to protect our waterways for future generations.”
“Connecticut residents are outraged,” Murphy said. “New England depends on healthy, protected shorelines and the Trump administration just put it all at risk.”
Also supporting the legislation were Susan Collins of Maine, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Angus King of Maine, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. A companion measure was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island.