Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined more than three dozen of their colleagues in criticizing the Donald Trump administration’s decision to revisit the offshore drilling program three years ahead of schedule with the intent of opening significantly more areas to oil and gas leasing.

This decision puts vast stretches of coastline along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and in the Arctic at risk.

“This draft proposal is an ill-advised effort to circumvent public and scientific input, and we object to sacrificing public trust, community safety and economic security for the interests of the oil industry,” the senators wrote in a Jan. 9 letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. “We urge you to abandon this effort and maintain the protections outlined in the current 2017-22 plan.”

The Trump administration’s decision to push a rewrite of the existing 2017-22 offshore drilling plan has wasted taxpayer resources and ignored extensive community input that went into the original plan. In many locations across the country, including in many Delaware coastal communities, public input urged strong protections against drilling, as coastal communities that rely on commercial fishing and tourism for their economies feared the impacts that drilling and the potential of spills could have on their ecosystems, businesses and jobs.

The full text of the letter is available at