Pallone Renews Call for Administration to Swiftly Abandon Drilling in Atlantic and Arctic Oceans

Nov 16, 2016

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), sent a letter asking President Obama to permanently protect both the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from any future offshore oil and gas leasing. Pallone and 73 of his Congressional colleagues initially made the request to the President in September of 2016. The request comes as President-elect Trump has called for rolling back several important environmental initiatives proposed by the Obama administration. Pallone raised his concerns over Trump’s environmental positions on the House floor earlier this week.

“[The] United States must continue to lead the fight against global warming,” said Pallone. “A major part of that effort should include preventing dangerous and environmentally harmful oil and gas extraction in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Doing so would help our nation deliver on our climate commitments, and help protect our coast communities from the health, environmental, and economic impacts of climate change, as well as the possibility of a devastating oil spill.”

Congressman Pallone has long been a proponent of renewable energy and firmly committed to the fight against offshore drilling. Prior to the 2010 BP oil spill, Congressman Pallone introduced legislation to ban new exploration and offshore drilling, and to hold oil companies fully accountable for costs of spill-related damagers. In February this year, Pallone sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell asking for the Atlantic Ocean to be protected from oil and gas development in the Draft Proposed Plan of the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The Obama Administration then removed the Atlantic lease sales from this Program but the area remains at risk of leasing in future Programs.

In April of 2015, Congressman Pallone and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act to ban oil and gas exploration, development, and production in the Atlantic Ocean. Offshore drilling is a threat to New Jersey’s coastal communities, especially beaches, which are the primary driver of a tourism industry that supports 312,000 jobs and generates $38 billion in economic activities for the state each year. It can also damage important commercial and recreational fisheries.


November 16, 2016

 

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Mr. President:

I write again to respectfully request that you use your authority under section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently protect both the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean from any future offshore oil and gas leasing.

As I and 73 of my Congressional colleagues said in a letter sent to you on September 28, 2016, the United States must continue to lead the fight against global warming. A major part of that effort should include preventing dangerous and environmentally harmful oil and gas extraction in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Doing so would help our nation deliver on our climate commitments, and help protect our coastal communities from the health, environmental, and economic impacts of climate change, as well as the possibility of a devastating oil spill. 

As you know, section 12(a) gives the President unilateral authority to protect sections of the outer continental shelf from future energy development leasing.  Permanently protecting both the Atlantic and Arctic would demonstrate to our coastal communities, fishermen, businesses, and other stakeholders the strong opposition of this Administration to opening up these areas to risky offshore drilling. In the Atlantic particularly, preventing offshore oil and gas extraction would help protect important commercial fisheries, tourism, marine wildlife, and the communities that depend on them. The economic and health benefits of taking that step cannot be underestimated. 

In addition to the economic and health impacts, in March, the Pentagon strongly opposed drilling off the Atlantic coast because it could impact military maneuvers and the Navy’s ability to defend our coasts.  Protecting both Oceans from fossil fuel development is in the best interests of the United States and the world.

I have supported your efforts to lower our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, encourage the development of renewable forms of energy, and protect our oceans. Your efforts have both supported new jobs and reduced pollution. Permanently protecting the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from future fossil fuel development would help secure the climate legacy you are sure to leave behind.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

 

 

____________________________                           

FRANK PALLONE, JR.                                          

Member of Congress