Pallone Celebrates Removal of Atlantic from Final Offshore Drilling Plan
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Department of the Interior unveiled its final 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The final plan does not include 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 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.
Earlier this year, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), led 73 of his colleagues in sending a letter asking President Obama to permanently protect both the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from any future offshore oil and gas leasing. This week, he asked President Obama to put the ban into place before President-elect Trump is sworn into office.
“I am pleased and relieved that the Department of Interior’s final plan abandons 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 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,” said Pallone. “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.”