Gov. Cuomo on Monday asked the US Department of the Interior to exempt New York from a controversial new plan to expand offshore drilling — one week after the department issued an exemption to Florida.
Cuomo said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that offshore drilling “poses an unacceptable threat” to New York’s ocean resources and economy.
“It introduces the unprecedented risk of extremely hazardous oil spills, contributes to the acceleration of climate change, and conflicts with New York’s ambitious agenda to develop offshore wind energy,” the governor said.
“With this plan, the federal government is trampling on the interests of New Yorkers and threatening the future well-being of our state.”
Cuomo highlighted the importance of the New York Harbor and Long Island as being home to millions as well as a hub of economic activity.
The governor also pointed to the department’s sudden exemption of Florida from the new offshore drilling plan as an example that more research needed to be done.
“Your decision to remove Florida from consideration of any new oil and gas platforms before your Department has even concluded its public fact-finding process appears arbitrary,” he said.
“Nevertheless, to the extent that states are exempted from consideration, New York should also be exempted.”
Florida’s unexpected exemption gave a political boost to its governor, Rick Scott, a Republican who is expected to run for the Senate this year.