BOEM to Meet with NJans on Oil Drilling Explorations off the Atlantic Coast

Feb 20, 2015 Issues: Environment, New Jersey

LONG BRANCH, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), along with U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ), applauded the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) decision to hold a public meeting in New Jersey before the Obama Administration moves forward with a 5-year offshore leasing plan which includes opening parts of the Atlantic Ocean to offshore oil and gas drilling.   The announcement comes in response to a letter sent by Sens. Menendez, Booker, and Rep. Pallone expressing their deep concern with any drilling in the Atlantic and asking for a public comment meeting on the proposal to be held in New Jersey.

“Oil drilling in the Atlantic would put New Jersey’s shore communities and our state’s economy at significant risk,” said Congressman Pallone.  “And those who will be most seriously impacted by the choices we make today are those of us who call the beach our home, rely on it for our livelihood, or come to enjoy it year after year.  I look forward to the upcoming public hearing that will allow New Jerseyans to make their voices heard on such a critical issue.”  

“I thank the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for accepting our request, and look forward to the opportunity for local residents, business owners, fishermen and community leaders who would be most impacted by offshore drilling to have their voices heard,” said Sen. Menendez. “Our state’s coastline and economy would be shattered by an oil spill near our shore, and I believe this important public forum will help prove why we must kill the drill.”

“This public meeting is an important first step in helping the Obama administration understand the severity of the environmental and economic risks to New Jersey if oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean’s fragile ecosystem is permitted,” said Sen. Booker. “I know that New Jerseyans will make their voices heard and make it clear that fossil fuel exploration off the Atlantic coast would be a devastating—and potentially irreparable—mistake.”

Pallone, Menendez, Booker and have been strong advocates for better environmental protection and increased transparency in the five-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program plan, criticizing closed-door meetings without advocates for the protection of shore economies and clean water. In a July 2014 letter to President Obama, they urged his administration to keep the Atlantic Coast off limits for oil and gas exploration, stressing that the environmental and economic consequences of an oil spill near the Jersey Shore would be catastrophic.