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Maine Opposes Effort to Expand Offshore Drilling

Maine will not participate in the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, Gov. Janet Mills announced. In a letter to OCSGC chair and Alabama governor Kay Ivey, Mills wrote that the organization’s “work promoting the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling is incompatible with Maine’s interests.” Mills emphasized Maine’s bipartisan opposition to offshore oil and gas drilling and her commitment to instead protecting Maine’s coastline, marine resources, and ocean economy.

“Maine’s renowned coastline, with its clean water, beautiful beaches, and abundant marine resources is a unique asset supporting some of the state’s most important industries, most notably tourism and commercial fisheries,” Mills wrote. “Fifty-four percent of Mainers live in coastal counties, and the jobs of many Mainers are directly or indirectly tied to our coastal economy. The 46,000 jobs that Maine’s ocean economy provides would be jeopardized by oil and gas drilling activities off our coast.”

Maine’s Congressional delegation is also opposed to offshore oil and gas drilling. Similarly, the Maine House of Representatives and Senate voted unanimously last year to pass a joint resolution declaring that oil and gas drilling and exploration off Maine’s coast would endanger commercial fishing jobs and be an ecological and economic disaster for Maine.

“The Maine coast also includes Acadia National Park, thirteen state parks, the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge Complex, and the Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation,” Mills added. “These special places are not only environmentally sensitive, but also have great social and cultural significance. I cannot accept the risk that they could be despoiled.”

Mills vowed to work with the governors of East and West coast states to fight any federal proposals to open the waters off the Maine coast to offshore oil and gas drilling.

As Attorney General, Mills wrote to U.S. Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke to express strong opposition to proposed oil and gas development in the North Atlantic Planning Area as proposed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s 2019-2024 Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (“DPP”). She also joined several East and West Coast states in opposition to the opening of the Outer Continental Shelf off both coasts to leases for oil and gas drilling.

 

Source: Feb. 25 news release posted on the website of the governor of Maine.

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