Gov. Carney signs new legislation against offshore drilling
DELAWARE – Offshore drilling is a concern for many, while others believe it can bring some benefits.
But Governor John Carney has made his stance today by signing bills that will go against it. Thursday morning, Governor Carney took a big step by signing two bills into law.
Senate Bill 200 and Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 207 are two pieces of legislation that are backed by different parties, but both are aimed at achieving the same goal.
Bill sponsor, Senator Ernesto Lopez says, ” The bill completely bans offshore drilling of Delaware coast. Delaware was being threatened as a location for testing and offshore drilling of oil and natural gas.”
Senator Lopez’s bill will also require the Department of Natural Resources to take a look at the current laws in place for offshore drilling, so that they can advise the General Assembly on what to do going forward.
As for Senator Stephanie Hansen’s bill, it would allow the Delaware Department of Justice to take legal steps to prevent the sale of oil and gas leases for their coastal waters.
One big push for protecting Delaware’s coastline is environmental reasons.
Suzanne Thurman, the Executive Director from Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute says, “For a tiny state, we have an immense diversity of species that live in these oceans. To eliminate one of those harmful impacts could keep species from becoming instinct.”
But beyond that, another major focus is on the economic needs, as the first state relies heavily on the coastal tourism industry. Nearly half of the spending money that visitors invest happens in Sussex County. We’re told coast-related activities contributes about $7 billion to Delaware’s economy.
“We have so much that depends on the health of our coastline and our ability to keep tourism going and all the folks that are employed in this area. This is a huge economic and environmental engine right here,” Senator Hansen tells 47 ABC.