Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) applauded the announcement yesterday by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to extend the opportunity for the public to comment and have input on upcoming seismic testing for oil exploration off the Atlantic Coast. Congressman Pallone requested that the Interior Department extend the public comment period during his questioning of BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau at a Natural Resources Committee hearing on May 9.
The Department of Interior announced its decision to begin seismic testing off the coast of the Mid and South Atlantic in March, potentially opening up the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling. New Jersey is strongly dependent on a healthy coastline for its economic vitality. New Jersey's beach and ocean environment generates $38 billion per year in economic activity and supports nearly 500,000 jobs.
"An environmentally sound coast-line is critical to New Jersey's economy, and seismic testing in the Atlantic is a first step toward oil drilling off the coast," said Pallone. "I remain absolutely opposed to oil drilling off the Atlantic Coast and believe that the public should have ample opportunity to have a say in the process. I'm, pleased with the decision of the Bureau of Ocean Management to extend the public comment period, giving New Jersey residents more time to have their voices heard."
At an April 27th Department of Interior public listening session in Atlantic City, NJ on the process leading to seismic testing, Congressman Pallone submitted a statement voicing his opposition to oil drilling off the Atlantic Coast and urged the Department to focus on U.S. energy independence through renewable sources such as wind and solar power.
"I am confident that this extended comment period will yield further information to the Department of Interior, demonstrating why it is so important that seismic testing off the Atlantic Coast not proceed," said Pallone. "I call on the Department to increase its public outreach to potentially impacted communities and to look toward other solutions to ensure American energy independence."