The Maine Senate overwhelmingly passed an offshore drilling ban this week by a 31-4 vote, with Bill LD 955 sitting on Gov. Janet Mills’ desk, Kallanish Energy reports.
The legislation would limit oil and gas exploration and drilling within state waters, which also would make it difficult for Trump administration plans for oil and gas exploration in federal waters farther off the Maine coast.
State Sen. Robert Foley, Republican-York, a bill co-sponsor, told Public News Service – Maine he isn’t surprised by bipartisan support for the bill.
“The resources that the coast of Maine provides to us — both from a tourist industry, from a fishing industry — is something more valuable than any potential oil deposits that may come up,” he said. “And the potential of destroying that part of our economy is just not something that we could risk.”
Mills is expected to sign the bill, probably this week. The ban is a direct challenge to a presidential executive order to open drilling in federal waters across the U.S., although a federal judge halted those plans in March.
Supporters of increasing offshore drilling have argued it’s needed for the country’s energy independence and would create jobs.
Foley told PSN – Maine there isn’t geological evidence of substantial oil deposits off the Maine coast. If there were, Foley said, he still would have supported the ban.
“If they even thought that there was oil up there,” he said, “it’d be even more reason for us to have probably have had a stronger bill than what this one has.”
There also is legislation in the U.S. Senate to bar oil and gas drilling off the New England shoreline.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.