WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement on the Trump Administration’s decision to revise the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (Five-Year Plan), finalized in November 2016, and move to open parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico to increased oil and gas drilling.

“I have long advocated for an all-of-the-above strategy to meet our country’s energy needs, but the Trump Administration’s decision to open up parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico to more oil and gas drilling at this time is completely unnecessary.

“Just eight years ago, we saw very clearly with the Deepwater Horizon disaster that oil spills do not respect state boundaries and that the severe environmental and financial costs of oil spills last for generations. A spill anywhere along the East Coast could easily affect our pristine Delaware beaches and our vibrant coastal communities that rely on fishing, tourism and recreational activities to drive their local economies. 

“Jeopardizing the environmental and economic health of the entire Atlantic coast is simply not worth the risk, especially when the existing plan, which was the result of extensive public input and research, already makes more than 45 million new barrels of oil available to oil companies. Additionally, just last month as part of their tax bill, Republicans opened up parts of the Arctic to even more drilling. Producing more oil just for the sake of having more oil misses the point, especially as the Administration proposes to do so while at the same time seeking to relax offshore drilling regulations.   

“Experts and residents living in the communities that will be most impacted by this decision agree that this is the wrong move, especially as the threat of climate change continues to grow. President Trump should listen to them and support them in their efforts to keep their coastal economies thriving in the way that they see fit.”