House Sierra Club: Republicans Side with Big Oil- Penalize States Who Oppose Offshore Drilling

House Republicans Side with Big Oil- Penalize States Who Oppose Offshore Drilling

Today at 10:00am, the House Republicans will vote on a bill that would impose a fee to states that are opposed to offshore leasing off their coasts. The bill also says that states can disapprove or block half of the leases off its coast without a fee. The bill will be voted in the House of Natural Resources Committee. This is an attempt to put pressure on states such as New Jersey who have signed laws that would prohibit natural gas infrastructure off of their coast.

“In a desperate attempt to save Trump’s offshore drilling agenda, Congress have proposed legislation that would blackmail states for blocking offshore drilling leases.  This vindictive move is not only an example of Trump’s war on the environment, but it is an example of his war against the coastal states. This bill would give coastal states an ultimatum. They would either have to let oil companies drill off their coast or else succumb to millions of dollars in fees. States are being reprimanded for protecting their coastal communities and thriving tourism from susceptible oil spills and catastrophic accidents. They should instead be rewarded for defending their coast,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Republican committee members are siding with Big Oil over the safety of our coastal states and they should be ashamed.We need our Democratic and Republican Congress members to block this bill ”

States who want to block all leases will have to pay one-tenth of what the government could have earned from the lease sales, royalties and other revenue streams, if oil and gas drilling had taken place. The bill would also create revenue-sharing scheme for states that do decide to drill. A Republic committee staffer stated that, “when states out East, like the coastal states, are trying to prohibit development rather than facilitating it, they are not only harming the potential oil and gas development, but they’re also harming the rest of the country by depriving the federal government of revenue.”

“Congress is trying to bribe its own country to invest in dirty energy infrastructure by giving them a paycheck for supporting dangerous is even worse, is that the draft bill could penalize states with a million dollar or even billion dollar fee for protecting its own coast. Something is seriously wrong with that. This is policy at its worst,” said Tittel. “We will stop this horrible proposal no matter what Fossil Fool in White House says. Sierra Club has already filed a lawsuit against this senseless proposal that will defend our safety, ecosystem, fisheries, and coastal economies from Trump’s dangerous and greedy actions.”

In April, New Jersey became the first Atlantic state to adopt a legal barrier to offshore drilling when Governor Murphy signed A839 (Land) into law. This includes prohibiting offshore drilling in state waters and issuance of DEP permits and approvals for activities associated with offshore drilling.

“States are taking action to protect their coasts from drilling and now Congress is trying to prevent them from doing that. They are supposed to believe in federalism but instead Congress is in the pocket of Big Oil. New Jersey has already passed a law prohibiting drilling in state waters. Not only will this law prevent drilling in state waters, but it will stop any oil or infrastructure being transported from offshore into NJ,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We will not be blackmailed and threatened! The Trump Administration is threatening our coasts, environment, and economy and we’re fighting back. Fighting this will be a challenge, but we believe we can win.  We don’t want our linguini and clam sauce to taste like Quaker State.”

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