NJ Politics Digest: States Are Going Local to Fight Offshore Drilling

While a state can't ban federally sanctioned offshore drilling, it can make a drilling operation so expensive that oil companies go elsewhere.

While a state can’t ban federally sanctioned offshore drilling, it can make a drilling operation so expensive that oil companies go elsewhere. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

In politics, as in many things, the secret is location, location, location.

And so states opposed to the Trump administration’s efforts to open areas off their coasts to offshore drilling are using their local powers to try to block the effort by regulating what can be done in the lands they control. This includes measures that ban construction of the infrastructure needed to support offshore oil rigs and laws ensuring oil companies know they face stiff consequences in case of an oil spill.

While a state can’t ban federally sanctioned offshore drilling, it can make a drilling operation so expensive and cumbersome to maintain that oil companies go elsewhere, according to an Associated Press report.

But such plans are a two-edged sword, since it also precludes a state from benefiting from the jobs and revenue oil drilling can bring to an area.

Quote of the Day: “We started thinking about how we control the first three miles of ocean, and there are state rights that we have. Even if we don’t succeed in banning it outright, we can still make it a lot more expensive to do it in this area. It’s a back-door, ingenious way to block this.” — New Jersey state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, on the state’s efforts to block offshore oil exploration.

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NJ Politics Digest: States Are Going Local to Fight Offshore Drilling