On March 28, 2019, Representative Joe Cunningham (D-SC) introduced the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, which would prohibit the Department of the Interior from offering any tract for oil and gas leasing or pre-leasing in the Atlantic or Pacific Outer Continental Shelf planning areas. The bill is in response to the Trump Administration's long-anticipated, but still not final, draft plan to allow drilling for oil and gas in US waters off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The Trump Administration plan has received almost universal opposition from governors along the Eastern Seaboard--both Republican and Democrat.
This bi-partisan bill, which is being co-sponsored by 51 additional Representatives, would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from including these areas in any leasing program. Specifically, the bill would amend the Act to state that "The Secretary shall not include in any leasing program under this section any area within the Atlantic Region planning areas or the Pacific Region planning areas, as such planning areas are described in the document entitled ‘Draft Proposed Program Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2019–2024’, dated January 2018."
The bill was passed out of committee on June 19, 2019, and will next go before the full House for a vote.