NJ Congressman Frank Pallone has reintroduced a bill to permanently ban exploration, development or production of oil along the Atlantic coast.
Called the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act, it would ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The bipartisan COAST Anti-Drilling Act permanently prohibits the U.S. Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil and gas in the North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Straits of Florida Planning Areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
“Coastal communities depend on a healthy ecosystem to thrive, and an oil spill would threaten the economic vitality of the Jersey shoreline and communities up and down the Atlantic Coast,” Pallone said. “In my home state of New Jersey, the fishing and recreation industry supports over half a million jobs – jobs that would be put at immediate risk if Washington Republicans open up our coast to offshore drilling that could drench the Jersey Shore in oil.”
Nearly all members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation have joined Pallone’s bipartisan effort to stop offshore drilling by signing onto the COAST Act as original cosponsors. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez has been a leader in the fight against drilling in the Atlantic and will introduce the Senate companion bill. It is also supported by numerous environmental organizations, including the American Littoral Society.
“As the devastating impacts of climate change become ever more clear and Big Oil rakes in record profits on the backs of hardworking families, the last thing we need is another handout to the oil industry that endangers our shore communities,” said Senator Menendez. “The COAST Anti-Drilling Act draws a line in the sand—a line that we must never let Big Oil cross—by permanently banning drilling throughout the Atlantic. The Jersey Shore is a birthright for every New Jerseyan and for families across the country who have been visiting our shoreline for generations. I look forward to working with Rep. Pallone and my colleagues in the Senate to safeguard our coastal communities, economy, and marine ecosystems, and protect our coast once and for all.”
“An oil spill in the Atlantic Ocean could devastate beaches, fisheries, and marine life and harm our coastal communities, including the thousands of small businesses along the Jersey Shore,” said Senator Cory Booker. “We must protect our vibrant seaside communities and coastal ecosystems against this potential catastrophe. By banning offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic region, this bill would prevent oil-related disasters in New Jersey and neighboring states.”
“A clean and unpolluted ocean are central to our lives and our coastal economy. Offshore oil and gas have no place here: where they drill, they spill," said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director, American Littoral Society. "The COAST act will ensure our ocean is protected and will continue to provide us with clean water, healthy fisheries and oil free beaches. We thank Congressman Pallone and the other sponsors for their unfailing leadership in protecting our ocean and coast.”
An oil spill along the Atlantic Coast would devastate coastal communities and wildlife habitats. The Jersey Shore is home to over $700 billion in coastal properties, and the tourism industry generates almost half a million jobs – nearly ten percent of the state’s entire workforce. New Jersey’s commercial fishing industry generates billions annually and supports over 50,000 jobs. New Jersey also has one of the largest saltwater recreational fishing industries in the United States.