February 22, 2018
For further information, contact:
Senator Barrett’s office:
Hannah Walford, 617-722-1572
Senator Tarr’s office:
Don Siriani, 978-761-0472;
Boston – In time to influence a public meeting in Boston called by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and set for next Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Senate, under bipartisan leadership, has passed a resolution opposing a federal initiative to reopen oil and gas drilling in the waters off New England.
Mike Barrett, Democrat of Lexington and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Energy, and Bruce Tarr, Republican of Gloucester and Senate Minority Leader, coauthored the document, which passed the Senate on Thursday, Feb. 22.
The Resolution states, in part, “The Administration’s actions threaten to jeopardize the environmental well-being of the Commonwealth and, more particularly, its coastal communities and waters.”
It goes on, “The Commonwealth supports energy diversity, but the environmental and economic importance of the waters off the coast of the Commonwealth must be weighed against the benefits claimed for speculative offshore drilling.”
The Senate statement concludes by asking “the United States Department of the Interior to take all possible action to protect the waters off the coast of the Commonwealth and New England, in particular Georges Bank, Stellwagon Bank, and Jeffreys Ledge, and to exempt these areas from oil exploration initiatives.”
“Today, the Senate expressed its sincere interest in preventing risk to our ocean waters from a proposed Federal oil and gas drilling lease program under review by the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,” said Tarr. “Our coastal marine environment contains precious resources that support employment, commerce, research and our quality of life. The well-being of our coastal communities must be protected and defended”
“In terms of Massachusetts’ and New England’s values, this is one terrible idea,” Barrett said. “The country currently has projected surpluses of oil and natural gas for as far as the eye can see. This threat of environmental and economic devastation to our part of the nation could not be more pointless, nor more disrespectful to the traditions of the region.”