WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce and Natural Resource committees, voted against a bill that would expand leasing of offshore drilling to the Atlantic Coast. The bill passed today by a 235-186 vote, but it is not expected to be taken up by the U.S. Senate.
“By requiring offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, this bill threatens New Jersey’s coastal environment, fishing, tourism and the associated jobs and economic activity,” said Pallone (D-NJ-06). “This bill is the same old failed attempt by the Republican majority to give away public resources to wealthy, multi-national corporations at the cost of American taxpayers and our environment.”
“In New Jersey, tourism is a top industry, and we rely on our beaches, fisheries and clean ocean to attract that tourism. In 2011, the commercial fishing industry in New Jersey generated $6.6 billion in sales and contributed $2.4 billion to gross state product, while supporting 44,000 jobs. At the same time, New Jersey’s recreational fisheries generated $1.7 billion in sales and contributed $871 million to gross state product, while supporting 10,000 jobs,” Pallone said. “I made an effort to give a voice to those Americans living on the Atlantic Coast who want to protect their livelihoods, who want to preserve a clean ocean and who want to ensure the health of marine life.”
“At a time when domestic energy production is booming under President Obama, this rushed expansion of unsafe drilling into environmentally sensitive areas is completely unwarranted,” Pallone added. “This legislation unnecessarily rewards wealthy, multi-national who are sitting on 30 million acres worth of approved leases, waiting to drill until prices are even higher.”
New Jersey Republicans Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), John Runyan (NJ-3), Chris Smith (NJ-4), Leonard Lance (NJ-7), and Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) joined with Democrats Robert Andrews (NJ-1), Pallone (NJ-6), Albio Sires (NJ-8) Bill Pascrell (NJ-9), and Rush Holt (NJ-12). Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5) was the only member of the state’s delegation to vote in favor of the bill.
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