Attorneys General Respond to Trump Administration's Drilling Plans

January 4, 2018

Washington, D.C. — Attorneys general across the country today responded to the Trump Administration's announcement that it will seek to expand oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico:

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra:
“Drilling off the shores of California’s coast is a non-starter. Our State has banned offshore drilling for a reason: because we don’t want it and because we know what happens when it goes wrong. We are evaluating all of our options to protect our State’s pristine natural resources. And it should be underscored that regulatory agencies in our State will have a say in whether any offshore drilling ultimately does occur. Irrespective of the Trump Administration’s backwards action today, California will continue to lead the way on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh:
"Oil drilling off the Atlantic coastline is foolish, reckless and unnecessary. President Trump and Secretary Zinke are placing the interests of the oil industry above the well-being and interests of millions of Americans who depend upon clean water for their livelihoods and who treasure it as their heritage. We will fight every step of the way to protect our shores and our Chesapeake Bay from the dangerous and irresponsible decisions of this Administration.”

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin:
“This decision by the Administration is clearly driven by the oil and gas industry and it has the very real potential to significantly damage our coastline and negatively impact our coastal resources. Rhode Island, the Eastern seaboard, and all coastal communities benefit greatly from the preservation and protection of our natural resources, and allowing drilling for oil and gas will be detrimental to our economy and our quality of life. Moreover, Rhode Island has proven that offshore wind energy, which has far less environmental impact over drilling for gas and oil, is viable and should be explored and supported above extracting vital resources from our ocean floors. As Attorney General and the state’s environmental advocate, I will continue to fight this latest move by the Trump Administration to give the oil and gas industry carte blanche to destroy our environment.”

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein:
"As North Carolina’s Attorney General, I am absolutely committed to protecting our state’s people, natural resources, and economy. Offshore drilling threatens each of these. North Carolina's coastline is a national treasure that is essential to our state’s tourism and fishing industries. I oppose the Trump Administration’s off-shore drilling proposal and will explore all options to protect North Carolina's coast, economy, and people."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey:
"@POTUS is putting Big Oil over the interest of our state, threatening our historic coastline and tens of thousands of jobs. We will continue to fight back against this reckless administration."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:
"The offshore drilling process threatens irreplaceable natural resources in New York and across the Atlantic coast. These risks are not theoretical. As we saw with disasters like Deepwater Horizon, they are concrete, enduring, and profound."

Prior to today's announcement, state attorneys general have made clear their opposition to offshore drilling:

  • In July, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh led nine attorneys general in submitting comments to National Marine Fisheries Service opposing its proposal to conduct "disruptive and harmful" seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean. AGs from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. submitted the letter. 
  • California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called drilling off the coast of California "a non-starter" in comments submitted to the Department of the Interior in August. In April, AG Becerra said, "We will vigorously oppose new drilling off the shores of our coast."
  • In August, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey submittedcomments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opposing the agency's effort to create a new five-year national offshore oil and gas leasing program. Healey promised to "fight back against these reckless moves by the administration that threaten our state’s prosperity and our precious natural resources.”

ABOUT THE STATE IMPACT CENTER: The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advocate for clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information, visit