Picture from house.gov Web site
New Jersey Democrat, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., has vowed to fight President Barack Obama’s plan to allow offshore drilling for oil along the Atlantic Coast.
Urging the Obama Administration to reinstate a moratorium on offshore drilling, Congressman Pallone (6th District) issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“Allowing any offshore drilling on the Atlantic Coast is an invitation to an environmental catastrophe that would have severe economic consequences for New Jersey. The coastal beaches and ocean waters of the Jersey Shore are environmental treasures that anchor the state’s tourism industry and possess special meaning as a part of New Jersey’s identity. An oil spill anywhere along the coast could cause severe environmental damage to fisheries, popular beaches and wildlife. In turn, local communities that rely on seasonal tourism activities would suffer just as the state’s economy would suffer by any reductions in tourism. The tourism industry employs more than 500,000 people in New Jersey.
“Oil drills off the coast of nearby states still pose a threat to New Jersey. The ocean waters don’t respect state borders and neither would spilled oil. Any drilling off the coast of Delaware would be close enough to New Jersey for spills to easily reach our beaches. We shouldn’t jeopardize the environment or the regional economy for the sake of more oil. We need an energy policy that is far sighted, that is safe for the environment and good for the economy.
“I have fought for years to prevent any and all offshore drilling along the Eastern Coast and it’s a fight I’m going to continue. I am the sponsor of legislation – the Clean Ocean & Safe Tourism Anti-Drilling Act, or COAST bill – that would permanently ban drilling in all North- and Mid-Atlantic states from Maine to Virginia. It would prohibit the Department of the Interior from issuing leases for exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas and any other minerals in the area.
“I am opposed to any preliminary activities or studies that could lead to exploration or drilling. None of these activities was allowed under the moratorium that was in place by executive order until President Bush lifted it during the final months of his administration. I believe President Obama should reinstate the moratorium.
“I will fight for my COAST bill and for its goals of protecting and preserving the Jersey Shore and the Atlantic Coast.”
Meanwhile, the popular political blog The Hill reports that Pallone isn’t the only Democrat opposing the plan:
“Ten Senate Democrats who represent coastal states recently wrote a letter to Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the architects of the Senate’s climate bill, saying they will oppose it if it greatly expands offshore drilling.”