Two offshore drilling bills pass Delaware Senate
A pair of bipartisan bills passed the state Senate yesterday that would implement new restrictions on offshore drilling.
Senate Bill 200, sponsored by Sen. Ernie Lopez(R), Lewes, explicitly prohibits drilling for oil or natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters and precludes the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) from issuing any permits in connection with the development of offshore drilling infrastructure.
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 207, sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Hansen (D), Middletown, that would require state agencies to review offshore oil and gas exploration leases along Delaware’s coast to the extent permitted under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act and all pertinent state laws.
SB 207 specifically directs DNREC to enforce Delaware’s rights under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The CZMA gives states a role in federal planning and permitting decisions that affect their state and specifically provides for consistency reviews, requiring activities that are carried out or approved by the federal government and that impact a state’s coastal zone to comply with the state’s coastal laws and policies, including the state’s coastal management program.
Hansen and Lopez were both co-prime sponsors on one another’s bills and SB 200 and 207 now head to the House for consideration.