Environmentalists, Politicians Criticize Offshore Drilling Plan

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STATE – Environmentalists and New Jersey politicians have criticized President Barack Obama’s plan to open parts of the Atlantic Ocean to oil exploration. Though the area is not directly off the New Jersey coast, it could include points on the Virginia coast and near Cape May in the Delaware Bay.

“I oppose the idea of drilling off the coast of New Jersey,” Gov. Chris  Christie said.  “New Jersey’s coastline is one of our economic engines and I would have to be really convinced of both the economic viability and environmental safety of oil and gas exploration off our coast. At this point, I’m not convinced of either.”

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“We are utterly shocked and outraged with President Obama’s opening of huge portions of our sensitive oceans to dirty offshore drilling.  The policy is a deal with the devil and pure snake oil that puts New Jersey and New York beaches at risk,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a coalition of 125 organizations in the New Jersey/New York region.

“It’s a deal with the devil as the clear objective for opening up drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and other sensitive areas is to buy votes for legislation to reduce emissions causing climate change,” she said.

“The US Government has estimated that there is about a ½ year of oil from Maine to Florida.  Even if new studies double that amount— it will do nothing to increase energy independence or provide a meaningful domestic oil supply… locating oil in these vast areas is like finding a needle in a hay stack and in order to do so, you must blast the area with seismic charges that will endanger marine mammals and fish.”

“With this proposal on a clear day from Cape May you would be able to see oil wells… any spill will directly impact our beaches,” said NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. “This is a sell-out of our beaches and our shore to Big Oil.”

“Drilling off the Virginia coast would endanger many of New Jersey’s beaches and vibrant coastal economies,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).  “Giving Big Oil more access to our nation’s waters is really a Kill, Baby, Kill policy: it threatens to kill jobs, kill marine life and kill coastal economies that generate billions of dollars.  Offshore drilling isn’t the solution to our energy problems, and I will fight this policy and continue to push for 21st century clean energy solutions.”

“Instead of expanding coastline drilling, we should be focused on developing a 21st century green economy,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). “We cannot drill our way out of this problem. Even the Bush Administration’s Energy Information Administration estimated opening all out-shores to drilling would have no effect on gas prices. Instead of making rich oil companies richer we should be competing with Europe, Japan and China to win the competition to supply the world with next generation green technologies. Buying hybrids for the federal government and raising fuel economy standards is a start but we could and should do more.”


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