Environmental advocates call on Congress to build on Pallone offshore drilling ban by passing Biden infrastructure plan

A group of New Jersey elected officials, green business groups and civil rights leaders applauded Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Monmouth) for introducing legislation that would ban offshore drilling off the state’s coastline and called on Congress to wean itself from Big Oil and instead make transformative investments to create clean energy jobs.

Rep. Pallone’s legislation comes as President Biden is pushing the American Jobs Plan, which would invest trillions of dollars in clean energy, creating millions of new jobs replacing 100 percent of the nation’s lead drinking water lines, weatherizing 2 million aging homes and offices, building new solar panels and wind turbines and other major national infrastructure needs.

“Rep. Pallone’s bold leadership highlights the choice ahead of New Jersey and our nation,” said Alex Taurel, Conservation Program Director for League of Conservation Voters. “Are we going to continue to dig the hole deeper and put more communities’ health and safety at risk from offshore oil? Or are we going to invest in a clean energy future that creates good paying union jobs, and centers environmental justice? Congress has the chance to take us down the right path with the American Jobs Plan and we are so thankful New Jerseyans have leaders like Representative Pallone putting their future first.”

“Congressman Pallone’s bill will help ensure that visitors will be able to come down the Jersey Shore to enjoy our clean waters for generations to come,” said state Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Mercer). “Rather than doubling down on polluting industries that threaten our coastline, we need to be investing in growing green energy industries, including offshore wind, that will enable us to provide union jobs to New Jersey families while also helping us fight climate change. New Jersey has been a leader in both environmental protection and clean energy, and I look forward to working with our congressional representatives to turbocharge these efforts by working to pass the American Jobs Plan.”

New Jersey is already seeing the economic benefits of clean energy investments and is poised to be a national leader in offshore wind, a more sustainable way of creating jobs and generating electricity from our state’s shoreline. The American Jobs Plan would expand on these investments.

“Congressman Pallone’s leadership will protect our Jersey Shore economy from the dangers of offshore drilling and comes even as President Biden is championing the American Jobs Plan, which would create millions of jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy,” said Joe Grillo, Asbury Park Green Team member. “New Jersey is already poised to become a leader in offshore wind, and now is the time to double down on building a 21st century economy that invests in creating family-sustaining jobs even as we tackle climate change.”

Rep. Pallone’s long legislative record shows that New Jersey doesn’t need to decide between economic growth and protecting our environment. Instead, our state can ensure economic growth by making investments that expand clean, renewable energy.

“Congressman Pallone is showing us that New Jersey doesn’t need to rely on Big Oil to create jobs,” said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the New Jersey Sustainable Business Council. “In addition to this legislative push, he is working closely with President Biden to pass landmark legislation that would create millions of jobs in fast-growing green energy sector. We don’t need to choose between clean energy and jobs. The American Jobs Plan shows that we can do both. We look forward to working with the congressman in advancing both of these important New Jersey priorities and getting them to the president’s desk.”

Addressing our state’s environmental challenges aren’t only good for our economy, they are also a moral imperative. And it essential that any federal investments be focused on expanding opportunities and addressing the challenges of communities that have suffered from disinvestment and systemic racism.

“The will of the people has been overlooked and overshadowed for far too long by the wants of those willing to put profits and process over progress and success. For our constituents, success entails equitable access to gainful employment that both sustains family and the environment,” said Marcus Sibley, New Jersey NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Chairman. “We are grateful for the efforts of Congressman Pallone to ensure that these essential resources are provided and look forward to ensuring that they reach the overburdened communities most deserving of the support and assistance.”

“It is essential that our state and federal governments advance policies that protect our environment, as well as communities that for too long have been the brunt of environmental degradation,” said Blair A. R. Nelsen, Executive Director of Waterspirit. “Even as we protect our beaches from offshore drilling, it is essential that we invest in programs that remediate vacant industrial sites that pollute our water supply, as well as lead pipes that threaten the health of children in cities like Newark. Universal access to clean, safe drinking water is a basic human right.”

“The environmental protections Rep. Pallone is championing are crucial to communities of color all throughout our state,” said Christian Estevez, President of the Latino Action Network. “In addition to banning offshore drilling, our communities need resources replacing lead pipes that threaten our children’s development, as well as remediating Superfund sites that blight our communities. We look forward to working with the congressman to achieve these important goals to ensure that investments in sustainable infrastructure and environmental remediation are made equitably.”

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