The state of New York formally asked Friday for exclusion from the U.S. President Donald Trump’s offshore drilling program, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a joint statement with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
“We believe the future is a clean energy economy and New York is going to lead a counter-movement to what this [Trump] administration is doing to the environment and illuminate the path forward,” Cuomo said in the statement.
Introduced in early January, Trump’s “Unleashing America’s Offshore Oil and Gas Potential” plan proposes to open more than 90 percent of areas in the U.S.’ Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions between 2019-2024 for drilling.
If approved, the five-year plan will provide exploration and production of oil and gas in federal offshore areas for energy companies with “the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history,” according to the Department of Interior.
As an alternative, Cuomo announced that the state of New York will award $1.4 billion for 26 large-scale renewable energy projects — the largest single commitment to renewables by a U.S. state in history, according to the statement.
“The projects are expected to generate enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 430,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons, the equivalent to taking nearly 340,000 cars off the road,” he said.
The 45th Vice President of the U.S., Al Gore, praised Cuomo for his leadership in helping to solve the climate crisis and building a sustainable future.
“His vision and leadership stand in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s malignant mission to make us even more dependent on the dirty and destructive fossil fuels. Now more than ever, it’s up to all of us to step up and act on this urgent cause of our time,” he said in the statement.
Cuomo pointed out to the Macondo oil disaster that happened in the U.S.’ Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
“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,” he said in the statement.
The blowout in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010 took the lives of 11 workers, making it the biggest offshore oil spill and environmental disaster in U.S. history. An estimated 4.2 million barrels of crude oil spilled out to the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days.
Long Island and the New York Harbor are home to 11.4 million people, with 60 percent of our state’s population living along nearly 2,000 miles of tidal coastline, according to the statement.
“As the number three ocean economy in the nation, New York stands to lose nearly 320,000 jobs and billions of dollars generated through tourism and fishing industries should the exclusion not be granted. Overall, New York’s ocean economy generates $11 billion in wages and contributes $23 billion in gross domestic product,” it added.
New York City filed a lawsuit in January against the five major fossil fuel companies in the world, seeking damages for their alleged contributions to global warming.
The City said it is seeking damages from British Petroleum (BP), Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell for billions of dollars that it has to spend to protect New Yorkers from the diverse effects of climate change.