New York: Two national Democratic politicians from New Jersey are aiming to put the brakes on talk of Atlantic offshore oil and gas drilling – permanently.
US Senator Bob Menendez and Representative Frank Pallone have pledged to introduce a bill to both houses of Congress banning such exploration along the US eastern seaboard.
The Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act would prohibit the Department of the Interior from issuing any lease for the exploration development, or production of oil or gas in the North, Mid-, or South Atlantic Planning Areas.
In January the Department issued a draft proposal for five years (2017-2022) of drilling no nearer than 50 miles from shore. It included 14 potential lease sales in waters closest to the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. But all coastal states, including New Jersey, feel they have a stake in the plan as heated public discussions have revealed.
“We cannot stand by and allow our coastline and our marine life to be endangered in order to inflate Big Oil’s already inflated profits,” Senator Menendez said in a statement, reflecting a widely held concern about potential spills and environmental damage.