Policy Update

State Legislative Responses to Off-Shore Drilling Proposal



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At the beginning of March, over 225 members signed a letter opposing the Trump Administration’s proposal to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling. In addition, state legislators from ten states have introduced bills and resolutions to address the issue. Below is an update on the movement from six states on their legislation.

Liability and Penalties

  • Maryland Delegate Kumar Barve sponsored HB 1456, the Offshore Drilling Liability Act. The bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate. HB 1456 establishes offshore drilling as an abnormally dangerous activity. If there was an oil or gas spill during an offshore drilling activity, the responsible party is strictly liable for damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the spill. The bill also lifts the state’s $100 million cap for appeal bonds, or supersedeas bonds, making those responsible for a spill pay the full scope of damages, giving significant authority to state courts through civil lawsuits that might arise.


  • New Jersey A839 was sponsored by Assemblyman Bruce Land, Bob Andrezejczak, Vincent Mazzeo, and Nicholas Chiaravalloti. The bill prohibits offshore oil and gas exploration, development, and production in state waters. A839 has passed the House and Senate and is waiting for the Governor’s signature.
  • New York is currently pursuing legislation to prohibit oil and natural gas drilling in the state’s coastal waters. There is a bill in the House, A9818 sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, and a companion bill in the Senate, S8017 sponsored by Senator Kevin LaValle


  • To date, three states have passed resolutions that formalize opposition to the proposal and requesting an exclusion.
    • Massachusetts Senator Mike Barrett and Senator Bruce Tarr sponsored a resolution
    • Maine Representative Michael Devin sponsored joint resolution HP 1279.
    • California Assemblymember Monique Limón sponsored AJR 29.

View the full list of initial state legislative responses online.