Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), a possible candidate for president in 2016, on Monday called the White House's decision to allow drilling along parts of the East Coast "a big mistake."

"The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster should remind us that the benefits of drilling do not outweigh the threat to local economies, public health and the environment when an inevitable spill occurs," he wrote in an op-ed published in The New York Times.

O'Malley argued that placing oil rigs off the East Coast would result in accidents with broad consequences — noting recent, strong storms like Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


"If a single hurricane has the power to damage or destroy more than 650,000 homes in its path, we should consider what might become of an oil rig," he wrote.

"Expanding offshore drilling is irreconcilable with the realities of climate science and irrelevant, at best, to taking advantage of the vast economic opportunities clean energy presents," he added later in the piece.

The Obama administration said last week that it would allow drilling off one part of the Atlantic Seaboard and open up more portions of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling. The plan would also ban drilling in parts of Alaska.

In addition to the obvious proximity of O'Malley's home state to the coastal area in question, the former governor might be trying to stake out territory to the left of Obama as he mulls a presidential campaign.

In the last year, as speculation has mounted that he might serve as a more progressive challenger to a likely Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump asks Biden to give Putin his 'warmest regards' Huma Abedin announces book deal Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records MORE campaign, O'Malley has served as a foil to more centrist Democrats.

Last summer, he said the Obama administration's position to send unaccompanied child migrants back to Central America would be akin to sending them to "certain death." The White House fired back, and O'Malley accused the administration of misrepresenting his comments.

In September, O'Malley said that he was "seriously considering" a run. He has also said that Clinton's thinking about a run will not change his own.