Pallone Celebrates Removal of Atlantic from Latest Offshore Drilling Plan

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Department of the Interior unveiled its latest iteration of the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.  The revised proposal removes a dangerous provision from the Draft Proposed Plan that would have authorized new offshore oil and gas leasing along the southern Atlantic coast. Pallone worked relentlessly to remove the Atlantic from the against the proposal, sending two letters to the Department of the Interior raising concerns about the risks posed by offshore drilling to New Jersey and communities throughout the Atlantic coast.  He – along with Senators Menendez and Booker – joined concerned residents of New Jersey fighting to #KilltheDrill, and Pallone spoke directly with senior Administration officials to reiterate the need to prevent Atlantic drilling. 

“I am pleased and relieved that the Department of Interior abandoned its earlier proposal to allow drilling in the Atlantic from Georgia to Virginia,” said Pallone.  “That proposal was incredibly shortsighted, and would have threatened the ecology and economy, and public health all along the Atlantic coast, including our New Jersey coastline.”

Rep. Pallone has been a longtime leader in the fight to protect the Atlantic coast, sponsoring legislation since 2010 to prevent expansions of offshore drilling.  The current version of his legislation, the COAST Anti-Drilling Act (H.R. 1977), has 30 House cosponsors and companion legislation was introduced by Senator Menendez.  Pallone wrote to the Secretary of the Interior in 2010 voicing strong opposition to a plan to enable drilling in the Atlantic. He did this even before the Deepwater Horizon disaster brought offshore drilling to the forefront of the news.

“As we were reminded by the tragic Deepwater Horizon disaster almost six years ago, oil spills do not respect state boundaries.  A blowout or malfunction in the southern Atlantic, with currents that move north along the coast, would likely threaten the health, safety, and livelihoods of people in New Jersey and even further north.   To the small businesses and fishing communities in New Jersey – still recovering from Hurricane Sandy – that I have the privilege of representing, the Interior Department’s decision is welcome news. 

“As I have said before, drilling in the Atlantic Ocean is a risk-reward proposition: coastal communities face all of the risk so that Big Oil can reap all of the reward.  We need to continue to reject efforts to drill along our coastline, and to transition to cleaner and more efficient energy sources along our cost. 

“This victory could not have been achieved without the efforts of countless business owners, fishermen, and concerned residents in New Jersey and elsewhere.  Their resounding opposition to this plan made it clear that the Department of Interior had to reconsider its Atlantic Drilling proposal.  I thank them for their tireless advocacy, and I look forward to continuing our work to protect the communities we call home.”