APCC Calls on Congress to Reject Penalties for States Opposed to Offshore Drilling

Pending legislation would impose heavy fees on states opposed to drilling...

The Association to Preserve Cape Cod sent a letter today to Congressional leaders urging them to reject proposed legislation that would penalize states that sought to block offshore drilling along their coasts. The legislation, Enhancing State Management of Federal Lands and Waters Act, would impose heavy fees on states claiming jurisdiction over their shorelines as a means to stop offshore drilling from occurring.


The draft bill was proposed in response to the number of states speaking out in opposition to the Trump administration’s plan to open up vast areas of the Atlantic and Pacific U.S. continental shelf to oil and gas exploration. Waters off the Massachusetts coastline were included in the areas identified as available for drilling. APCC strongly opposed the proposed drilling plan when it was announced early this year.


According to the draft bill, states that place off limits more than 50 percent of the drilling lease blocks located off their shores would be penalized a fee equal to at least one-tenth the estimated revenue generated by the lease sales and other revenue if drilling were allowed to take place.


The bill was the subject of a recent hearing by the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, chaired by Senator Rob Bishop of Utah. APCC’s letter was sent to Bishop, as well as to House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the natural resources committee ranking member, Representative Raúl Grijalva. Representative Bill Keating, along with Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, were copied on the letter.


The following is the text of the letter.



June 25, 2018


The Honorable Paul Ryan                               The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker                                                           Democratic Leader

U. S. House of Representatives                      U.S. House of Representatives

H-232 U.S. Capitol                                           H-204 U.S. Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515                                 Washington, D.C. 20515


The Honorable Rob Bishop                             The Honorable Raúl Grijalva

Chairman                                                        Ranking Member

House Committee on Natural Resources       House Committee on Natural Resources

123 Cannon House Office Building                 1511 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515                                 Washington, D.C. 20515


Dear Speaker Ryan, Leader Pelosi, Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva:


The Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) urges you to oppose the Enhancing State Management of Federal Lands and Waters Act, which would impose an unreasonable and unprecedented penalty on states that oppose offshore drilling in waters off their coasts.


APCC is the leading nonprofit environmental education and advocacy organization for the geographic region of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. For 50 years, APCC has worked with citizens, municipalities and officials from regional, state and federal levels on issues that protect, preserve and enhance the fragile and unique natural resources and environment of Cape Cod, which is widely recognized as one of our nation’s iconic locations.


Offshore drilling would be an unacceptable threat to the environment and economy of Cape Cod, a region that is largely dependent upon the health and beauty of our coastal resources. An oil spill along our coast would be a devastating blow to our marine ecology and the many businesses that depend on it for their livelihood. The citizens of Cape Cod, along with the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and our elected officials—including Governor Charlie Baker—have expressed strong opposition to offshore drilling along the Atlantic coast.


It is therefore vexing to learn that Congress is considering the Enhancing State Management of Federal Lands and Waters Act as a means to punish states that seek to preserve their environment and protect the jobs of their citizens against the threat of catastrophic oils spills from offshore drilling. If enacted, this proposed legislation would impose a sizable financial cost on states that choose to exercise their rights to protect their environmental, economic and cultural resources from unreasonable threats. Penalizing states for protecting their environmental and economic interests would be an unconscionable and unfairly punitive act by Congress, one that places the private interests of the oil and gas industry ahead of the public interests of the citizens of coastal states.


APCC views this bill as a callous attempt to persecute states that put the welfare of their citizens and their environmental resources first. In essence, it would exact a ransom from those states as the cost for keeping the Atlantic coast free from the threats of an oil spill.


We therefore ask Congress to respect the rights of coastal states to protect their own shorelines and to instead reject this harmful legislation.




Andrew Gottlieb

Executive Director



cc:        The Honorable William Keating

            The Honorable Edward Markey

            The Honorable Elizabeth Warren      

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