- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - President Barack Obama’s plan to allow offshore drilling along a wide area of the Atlantic Coast is “a big mistake,” former Maryland governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley wrote in an opinion piece published Monday.

“The Obama administration’s whiplash decision last week to allow oil and gas companies to drill along a wide area of the Atlantic Coast is a big mistake,” O’Malley wrote in the op-ed piece in The New York Times.

O’Malley, a Democrat, cited the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster as a reminder that the benefits of drilling don’t outweigh threats to local economies, public health and the environment. Eleven workers were killed in the 2010 explosion, which triggered the release of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

O’Malley wrote that climate change is likely to cause increasingly powerful hurricanes, which could damage or destroy oil rigs. The term-limited former governor who left office last month also noted that oil prices are at record lows, and the United States is the world’s top producer of natural gas and third-biggest producer of crude oil.

“There is simply no compelling economic or security reason to expose the communities of the Atlantic Coast to the threats offshore drilling presents,” O’Malley wrote.

It’s not the first time O’Malley has disagreed publicly with Obama. Last summer, he criticized a White House proposal to deal with the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border that could have accelerated the deportation of unaccompanied immigrant children.

Meanwhile, O’Malley is continuing to make trips to early primary states. He plans to make two trips to Iowa: one on March 20 in Davenport and another on April 10 in Des Moines. He also is scheduled to be in Nashua, New Hampshire, on March 17 and a Democratic fundraiser in Concord, New Hampshire, the night before.

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