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Pallone Leads New Jersey Delegation Demand to Permanently End to Offshore Drilling Plans

April 30, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and the full New Jersey Congressional delegation sent a bipartisan letter to Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt demanding that the Department permanently withdraw plans to conduct offshore oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Congressman Pallone’s letter was signed by Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02).

On March 29, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska ruled that President Trump’s Executive Order to undo oil and gas drilling bans in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans was illegal. Last week, Secretary Bernhardt told the Wall Street Journal that the Court’s ruling would temporarily stall the Trump Administration’s dangerous plans for offshore drilling.

“We write regarding reports that the Department of Interior intends to stall plans to expand dangerous offshore oil exploration in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans in light of a recent federal court ruling. Based on this court decision and your public statements, we ask you to commit to permanently abandon plans to conduct offshore oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans,” the Members wrote. “Opening areas in the Mid and South-Atlantic to oil and gas development will put local economies at risk. Coastal communities along the Atlantic Ocean, including our home state of New Jersey, remain steadfast against any plan to drill for oil and gas in our coastal waters.”

The Jersey Shore is home to over $700 billion in coastal properties. The state’s tourism industry generates $38 billion a year supporting almost half a million direct and indirect jobs, amounting to nearly ten percent of the state’s entire workforce. New Jersey’s vibrant commercial fishing industry generates over $7.9 billion annually and supports over 50,000 jobs. New Jersey also has one of the largest saltwater recreational fishing industries in the nation. In Atlantic coastal states, an estimated 1.4 million jobs are connected to fishing, tourism and recreation, contributing to over $95 billion in gross domestic product. According to 2010 census data, 39 percent of the U.S. population is concentrated in counties directly on the shoreline.

A copy of the letter is available here.