U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today condemned legislation that passed the House of Representatives yesterday that would weaken drilling standards and expedite drilling off the Virginia Coast -- less than 100 miles from Cape May, NJ. They also announced plans to reintroduce the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Act to ban drilling off the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Maine.
"It is disturbing that many members of the House of Representatives seem to have already forgotten the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf that happened just last year. That is the only explanation for this legislation to weaken drilling safety standards and expedite oil leasing less than 100 miles from Cape May. These House proposals are dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate," said Menendez. "To underscore that point, we will reintroduce legislation to permanently ban coastal drilling from North Carolina to Maine. We cannot afford the risks oil drilling would pose to New Jersey's beautiful shoreline and its multi-billion dollar tourism and fishing industries, especially when the experts tell us that new offshore drilling will do nothing to reduce gas prices."
"Offshore drilling is off-limits near New Jersey. The cost of an oil spill to our coastal economy would be huge," said Lautenberg. "Our bill sends a clear message that we will not stand by and let big oil companies put the Jersey Shore in the path of the next big oil spill. Drilling is not the answer to rising gas prices -- instead, we need to invest in energy efficient cars, fuels that burn cleaner and cost less, and smarter transportation options like mass transit."
* Approximately 60 percent of New Jersey's $38 billion tourism industry comes from the Jersey Shore and the state also has a multi-billion dollar fishing industry.
* The Department of Defense has stated that 80% of the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia would interfere with the Navy's Virginia Capes Operating Area, a critical military training and testing area.
* The Energy Information Administration has estimated that opening all our shores to drilling would reduce gas prices by 3 cents starting in 2030.