Oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic coast is prohibited until 2017, and some members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation are pushing to extend that ban.
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez said he intends to fight any effort to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.
“New Jersey’s tourism, ports, and commercial fisheries together support a workforce of more than 1.5 million people. The impact of a major oil spill here would be devastating,” he said Wednesday during a news conference on the Asbury Park boardwalk. “We have a duty to keep our coastal economy and our ecosystems safe and sustainable.”
Menendez, U.S. Sen. Corey Booker, and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone have written to President Obama urging the administration to keep regulations against Atlantic drilling in effect until 2022.
If that doesn’t happen, Menendez said, the lawmakers will take their fight against drilling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Supporters of the offshore drilling ban are encouraging more development of solar and wind power projects to meet future energy needs.
“If we really want to achieve energy independence, we shouldn’t be drilling in this very fragile area that impacts the Shore,” Pallone said. “We should be doing more renewables, whether that’s solar power, wind power, whatever.”