U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker (D-NJ), as well as U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6), slammed the Department of the Interiorâ€™s inclusion of the Atlantic Ocean in its Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program (Five Year Program) for 2017-2022.
The draft proposed Five Year Program, which was announced today, allows for oil and gas exploration in a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic planning areas, encompassing areas offshore of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.
â€œIt is unthinkable that the Administration would open parts of the Atlantic Ocean, a fragile and priceless ecosystem that is home to such a unique array of marine life, to oil and gas drilling and potential damage from pollution and oil spills. An oil spill in the Atlantic Ocean would not occur in isolation,” the federal lawmakers said in a prepared statement.
â€œThe economic consequences of an oil spill near the New Jersey coastline would be catastrophic.Â Our beaches are a tremendous resource for all those who come here to enjoy them, and they are a huge economic engine for our state.”
“They are the primary driver of a tourism economy that supports 312,000 jobs in New Jersey and generate $38 billion in economic activities for the state each year. An oil spill near our coast could cause real damage to the state’s economy, including the loss of jobs.”
The accompanying video fromÂ Menendez’s YouTube pageÂ has the senator speaking about the immensely negative impact an oil spill could have on the Jersey Shore.Â