We Stand with Booker, Menendez, and Pallone Against Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plans


The New Jersey Sierra Club joined Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, and Congressman Pallone today against President Trump’s executive order to explore areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans for offshore drilling. Trump’s order will instruct the Department of the Interior to review the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Oil and Gas leasing program in both the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans. During the previous Administration, President Obama permanently protected 115 million acres of the Arctic Ocean, excluding only 2.9 million acres which have previously been leased near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. In the Atlantic Ocean, Obama protected 3.8 million acres, stretching from Massachusetts to Maryland. However, all of this could be at risk under Trump’s plans. That is why the legislators have introduced the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act that would ban oil and gas exploration, development, and production in the Atlantic Ocean.


“We support Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, and Congressman Pallone’s work to once again to kill the drill. Last year we had the biggest victory in 40 years when the Obama Administration blocked offshore drilling. Now President Trump has initiated a war on the environment. He has clearly sided with Big Oil and Gas over our coast by trying to open the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans to offshore drilling. That is why we are coming together to stop him. President Trump is clearly more concerned about corporate polluters and pollution than protecting our coast from the devastating impacts of an oil spill. His dangerous and greedy actions will seriously threaten our $38 billion coastal economy, destroy our ecosystem and fisheries, while harming people who live along the coast,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We thank our legislators for introducing the COAST Anti-Drilling Act. Offshore drilling will lead to increased climate impacts, while polluting our air and waterways. The oil would be taken to refineries in our area, further putting us at risk. We are joining to tell Trump the only oil we want to see off our coast is Coopertone.”


Sierra Club’s Don’t Rig Our Coastal Economy report found that New Jersey’s coastal tourism industry supports nearly 500,000 jobs, and one out of every six of the state’s jobs are linked in some form to its shoreline. Visits to the area generate $16.6 billion in wages and add $5.5 billion to the state’s tax coffers. During the summer of 1988 when medical waste washed up onto a 50-mile stretch of New Jersey’s shore, tourism dropped off significantly and the area directly lost at least $1 billion in revenue.  An oil spill off the coast of New Jersey could trigger an even more dramatic decline in tourism.


“From Anwar to Belmar, we are coming out against Trump’s fossil foolishness with our coast. Not only is Trump trying to open up areas for offshore drilling, he is also eliminating safety rules to protect us from spills. That is why Sierra Club will challenge any attempt to drill off our coast. We will use the science from Trump’s offshore drilling exploration against him and make sure no oil rigs end up on our coast,” said Jeff Tittel. “Drilling anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic would directly put our coasts at risk. Even a spill off of Virginia would find its way to our shores. One quart of oil pollutes a million gallons of water. Offshore drilling is really shortsighted because of the potential for a little bit of oil could jeopardize our coast, our multi-billion dollar fishing industry, and our tourism industry.”


Department of Interior who has already come out in opposition to pending Obama Administration moves to reform the federal energy leasing program. He also expressed opposition to keeping Montana’s coal reserves in the ground- which are the largest in the nation. Rep. Zinke has supported increasing coal mining and oil and gas exploration. We are very concerned that Rep. Zinke will exacerbate drilling, fracking, and mining on public lands without looking at the impact on public health and climate change.


“Drilling in the mid-Atlantic is part of Trump’s plans to increase dirty fuels at the expense of public health and the environment. The industries Trump is allowing to explore are not going to spent millions of dollars for research without a guarantee they are going to drill. This could also necessitate more pipelines being built off our coast to bring the oil to New Jersey refineries as well. Not only does this put our coast at risk, but it undermines renewable energy and growing our green energy economy,” said Jeff Tittel. “If they drill off our coast they would also be taking that oil to South Jersey or Bayway refineries. Pipelines and oil tankers would also put our coast at risk.  If they drill in Virginia, they will bring the oil by pipeline to New Jersey that threatens the Pinelands. Offshore drilling is not worth the risk when we can be investing in renewable and offshore wind. The choice is ours whether we want wind mills off our coast or oil rigs. We shouldn’t be fossil foolish with our coasts. We need to say no to off shore drilling. Instead we want windmills and other renewable energy sources.”


Instead of offshore drilling, we need safe and renewable energy like wind power. The federal government has auctioned leases of parcels off New Jersey’s coast for the development of offshore wind. Now these developers will have to be threatened by offshore drilling.


“We have a choice between windmills off our coasts and oil rigs. We choose wind! We must continue to protect our coasts because Trump’s plans are a serious threat. We have to explore new technologies for wind and wave power and remove obstacles that stand in the way of clean energy. We should be focusing on promoting safe and renewable energy like wind power and not opening up the Atlantic to drilling,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We thank Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, and Congressman Pallone for this legislation block offshore drilling. We must work with all of our legislators to support this important legislation and demand clean air, clean water, and clean energy over dirty fossil fuels. Our Coastal Economy Trumps Drilling!”

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