Delaware Bans Offshore Drilling

Governor John Carney, last Thursday, signed into law two measures, effectively banning offshore drilling for petroleum and natural gas in Delaware’s Coastal Zone and coastal waters.

Senate Bill 200 prohibits drilling for oil or natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters and precludes DNREC from issuing any permits in connection with the development of offshore drilling infrastructure, whether proposed for Delaware territorial waters or waters outside of the State.

Its companion measure, Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 207, opposes O&G drilling off Delaware’s coast and directs appropriate state agencies and officials to enforce Delaware’s rights in matters of offshore drilling under state and federal environmental laws.

The measures had wide bipartisan support, largely for reasons of potential environmental and economic impact that a major offshore drilling operation disaster would have on Delaware’s coastal environment, tourism and fishing industries. It stands in direct legal and regulatory opposition to the Trump Administration’s policy of opening maritime areas previously closed to oil and gas in the US Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone.

Both measures are in immediate effect upon gubernatorial signature.