NJ governor signs bill to block offshore drilling

Elias Hubbard
April 21, 2018

An offshore drilling platform.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a ban on offshore drilling in state waters, just before the start of Earth Day and Earth Week festivities. New Jersey is one of several coastal states to consider offshore drilling bans as a back-door way to block the Republican president's drilling plan.

The Trump administration has moved to potentially open federal waters in the Atlantic, which run from 3 to 200 miles out, to oil and gas exploration.

"Offshore drilling would be a disaster for our environment, our economy, and our coastal communities", Murphy said in a statement.

The New Jersey bill prohibits the Department of Environmental Protection from issuing any permits and approvals for the development of any facility or infrastructure related to offshore drilling within or outside of New Jersey waters.

New Jersey has 130 miles of shoreline. So far, Murphy says the work has been mostly on an "ad-hoc" basis, but he isn't ruling out the idea that New Jersey might team up with other states along the Atlantic Coast to form some kind of official coalition against offshore drilling. The bill, which passed unanimously in the state senate, was supported by groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Sierra Club.

"Opening up offshore areas to oil and gas drilling is unsafe and deeply concerning for our state", Sen.

"Opening up offshore areas to oil and gas drilling. poses a substantial threat to both the ecologically delicate areas along the coast and also to the tourism industry on which our local and statewide economy depends", Van Drew said. Only Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) supports the Trump administration's offshore drilling proposal, while governors in New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and SC have all publicly come out against the proposal.

New Jersey isn't the first state to ban offshore drilling in state waters. New Jersey's fishing industry supports approximately 50,000 jobs, and the Jersey Shore tourism industry is worth $38 billion annually, according to Assembly Democrats. "We can not allow President Trump's anti-environmental and pro-polluter agenda to hijack our economy or our environment".

"There is a lot of opposition, particularly off the East Coast and the West Coast, on oil and gas", he said".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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