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East Coast Dems push against Atlantic offshore drilling

Twelve Senate Democrats from the East Coast asked the Obama administration Monday to take Atlantic Ocean offshore drilling off the table.

The senators, led by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing Time to honor the 'ghosts' of WWII OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Federal officials press concerns about proposed mine near Georgia swamp, documents show | Trump falsely claims Green New Deal calls for 'tiny little windows' | Interior appeals migratory bird ruling MORE (D-Mass.), do not represent the states closest to the potential drilling.

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But drilling anywhere in the Atlantic “has the potential to adversely impact our states’ fishing, tourism and recreation industries, our coastlines and our environment,” they wrote Monday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Given the risks of offshore drilling, they said drilling should be banned on the entire Atlantic coast.

The senators are most worried about the potential for oil spills, and cited research from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that found that more than 1,100 miles of coastline had oil after the spill.

“As we saw just a few short years ago, offshore oil spills do not respect artificial state boundaries and a spill in the Atlantic could affect our states,” they said.

Interior proposed in January to allow some offshore oil and gas drilling off the coasts of states from Virginia to Georgia some point in the future. The oil industry and Republicans cheered the decision, while deriding the Obama for not opening more areas for development.

Markey and Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), all of whom signed Monday’s letter, blasted the Atlantic drilling proposal shortly after it came out as well.

Meanwhile, lawmakers from the states that neighbor the waters that could host drilling have applauded the plan, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).