New Jersey legislators are firing back at the Trump administration’s intention to reverse Obama-era protections and drill for oil in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, Governor-elect Phil Murphy and Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.-6th) were joined for a recent press conference in Long Branch by environmental advocates from Clean Ocean Action, the Sierra Club, Environment NJ and Clean Water Action. In addition, Menendez and Pallone, along with Sen. Cory Booker, sent a letter urging Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reject the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s plan to open the Atlantic to oil and gas exploration.
The administration announced last week the largest planned expansion of offshore drilling in decades in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico, including in previously blocked area off the Jersey Shore and from Florida to Maine.
“The decision to open up the Atlantic to drilling is proof that this administration does not care about coastal communities or their economies,” stated Pallone. “This is all part of an anti-environmental agenda that could have catastrophic consequences for our environmental and economic health. The fishing, boating and recreational industries would be debilitated by any oil spill along the Atlantic. Our coastal communities have made it absolutely clear that they do not want drilling in the Atlantic.”