May 01, 2017

Van Hollen Introduces COAST Act in Response to Trump Executive Order to Expand Offshore Drilling

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and 14 Senate cosponsors to reintroduced the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act that would ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Last Friday, President Trump signed an executive order that takes the first steps towards allowing offshore oil and gas drilling along the East Coast.

"Maryland's coastline and waters belong to the people, not Big Oil," said Senator Van Hollen. "We must protect our beaches and wildlife - and the jobs and livelihoods they support - from President Trump's effort to allow drilling offshore. We need to urgently develop clean sources of energy; the last thing we need is an oil spill disaster that will destroy Ocean City, as well as our fishing and boating industries."

COAST prohibits the U.S. Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas in the North, Mid-, or South Atlantic Ocean or the Straits of Florida. This commonsense, anti-pollution legislation would prevent short- and long-term marine and coastal damages, and protect and preserve shore economies.

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

The economic and environmental devastation caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy far exceeded what many believed would be the worst-case scenario for an offshore oil accident. More than seven years later, the Gulf Coast still hasn't fully recovered from its catastrophic impact. Offshore drilling would threaten Maryland and other Atlantic Coast states that are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy and devastation caused by other coastal storms with a manmade disaster from an oil spill.