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Pallone Announces Bipartisan Legislation to Permanently Ban Offshore Drilling

May 7, 2021
Press Release
Bill is Part of Effort to Protect U.S. Coastline from Devastating Oil Spills

Asbury Park, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today announced that he is reintroducing legislation to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act prohibits the U.S. Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas along the Atlantic Coast, including the North, Mid-, and South Atlantic and Straits of Florida planning areas.

New oil and gas lease sales are managed through a Five-Year Plan established by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean and Land Management. In 2016, President Obama banned new oil and gas drilling in federal waters through a Five-Year Plan that will expire in 2022. The reintroduction of Pallone’s bill coincides with a bipartisan effort across the country to permanently ban offshore drilling in U.S. federal waters in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico as the 2022 expiration date on the plan approaches. In January, President Biden issued an Executive Order that paused new leases for onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling on federal land and water. In July 2020, Pallone led passage of a provision in the House appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2021 that would ban offshore drilling for one year and will try to include the same provision in the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2022.

“As the world transitions to a clean economy, there’s simply no logical reason to put our coastal communities and ocean ecosystems at risk with unnecessary and dangerous drilling off our coast. Emissions from offshore drilling fuel the climate crisis and threaten vulnerable coastal communities and wildlife,” said Pallone. “We must work toward a clean economy that permanently bans offshore drilling, protects coastal economies, and creates jobs. President Biden’s early action to protect our coastline from offshore drilling is a good first step, and I’m looking forward to working with the President to ensure we enact a permanent ban on this dangerous practice.”

“New Jersey is future-focused and we know that offshore oil exploration and extraction belong in the rearview mirror,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “We thank Congressman Pallone for introducing his COAST Anti-Drilling Act to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. We cannot lead the nation and the world toward a clean energy future if we do not put the past behind us. We must drive our investments—of time, passion, and public and private finance—into clean energy infrastructure that positions our state, economy and its people to thrive in a clean and healthy environment for generations to come.”

An oil spill off the Atlantic Coast would be devastating to coastal communities in New Jersey and up and down the Atlantic. 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 New Jersey’s entire workforce. New Jersey’s commercial fishing industry generates over $7.9 billion annually supporting over 50,000 jobs.

“Business owners know that a healthy ocean and clean beaches power our economy, create jobs, and keep coastal communities thriving. Up and down the Atlantic Coast, businesses such as restaurants, hotels, boat rentals, surf shops, bait and tackle shops, and many more have been threatened by dirty and dangerous offshore oil drilling,” said Vicki Clark, Business Alliance for the Protection of the Atlantic Coast. “The Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism Anti-Drilling Act will protect our coast and the millions of jobs supported by our clean coast economy.”

“New Jersey wants an ocean, beaches and coast that is unpolluted and full of life. There is no place for oil drilling here - where they drill they spill. Now is the time to set our demands for a protected ocean into law, and we thank Congressman Pallone for this act and his long-standing leadership to protect our environment,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director, American Littoral Society

“Coastal communities deserve a healthy ocean and oil-free beaches. We applaud Congressman Pallone for reintroducing the COAST Anti-Drilling Act, which would permanently protect the entire Atlantic coast from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling. More drilling means more climate pollution which we cannot afford. Permanently protecting the Atlantic can help address the climate crisis and safeguard our coastal economy from drilling disasters,” said Diane Hoskins, Oceana Campaign Director

“The Jersey Shore has been in the crosshairs for decades from the oil and gas industry. Beaches and our ocean waters are seen as collateral damage for fossil fuels and offshore drilling will only worsen our climate change crisis,” said Doug O'Malley, Environment New Jersey's Director. "The solution is to ban offshore drilling up and down the Atlantic seaboard and the COAST Act will put our ocean ecosystem off limits to Big Oil. We thank Chairman Pallone for his decades-long advocacy to protect the Jersey Shore and make sure we never see an oil spill pollute our waters and beaches."

“We applaud Congressman Pallone for once again saying no to big oil and sponsoring legislation that will ban offshore drilling on the Jersey Shore and the entire East Coast. This act will not only protect the environment from a devastating oil spill, but will protect the Jersey Shore's economy, which supports over 800,000 jobs and is a $44 billion economic engine,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “We are also proud to join Congressman Pallone as he works to advance a bold climate infrastructure plan through Congress that will help create a 21st century green jobs economy. These jobs will provide a living wage to sustain our middle-class and help to create a prosperous future for all New Jerseyans, especially those who have been left behind in our Black and Brown communities.”

“We have been fighting against drilling off our coast for over 50 years. Every few years there is a proposal to drill off New Jersey and we keep stopping them. We need to pass the COAST Anti-Drilling Act to protect our coast now,” said Jeff Tittel, former of Director, New Jersey Sierra Club. “President Biden opposes offshore drilling. We need to pass this bill quickly, so he will sign it. This will stop Big Oil permanently from trying to drill off our coast. Presidents can come and go, but the threat remains and that’s why we need the COAST Anti-Drilling Act to become law.”

“This proposed Coast Anti-Drilling Act will end the ongoing threat of an oil spill in the Atlantic Ocean that will forever contaminate our ocean and our beaches, impact the health and safety of our shore communities, and destroy our shore tourism so important to our state’s quality of life and our economy,” said Margot Walsh, Executive Director, Jersey Shore Partnership. “The Jersey Shore Partnership gives its full support to this Act and introducing it the House under Congressman Pallone’s leadership.”

“It is time, once and forever, to ban offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean,” said John Weber, Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “Surfrider Foundation will support this bill and every bill in the US Congress that bans offshore oil drilling because our recreational beaches are just too valuable to risk destroying.”  

“This is 21st year of the 21st century and offshore drilling is so 1940s. It’s a relic whose place is long overdue in the history books along with its legacy of photographs—stained shorelines, dead and dying wildlife, ruined fisheries, and polluted communities. Finally, for the first time, there is sweeping bi-partisan opposition to offshore oil and gas drilling and a rallying cry in every state on the entire Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida! The time is now,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director, Clean Ocean Action. “Let’s make some history our kids will be proud of and make the COAST Anti-drilling Act a law to protect our ocean’s future.”