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Letter to The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary, Department Of Interior


Location: Washington, DC

New Jersey Lawmakers Request Moratorium On Offshore Drilling

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) along with Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Representatives Payne (NJ-10), Sires (NJ-13), Rothman (NJ-09), Pascrell (NJ-08) and Holt (NJ-12) Thursday sent the below letter to Interior Secretary Salazar requesting that the administration cease all plans to expand offshore drilling efforts along the east coast.

April 15, 2010

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary, Department of Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar,

We write today to express our steadfast opposition to the recent announcement that the Obama Administration and the Department of the Interior will expand oil and gas development and exploration on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) from Delaware to Florida. The potential environmental catastrophe that could occur from a spill would have ramifications spanning the entire east coast, regardless of the location of the drilling.

New Jersey's beaches are a tremendous resource for those who come to the state to enjoy them, and they are a significant economic engine for our state. They are the primary driver of a tourism economy that maintains nearly 500,000 jobs and generates $38 billion in economic activities for the state each year. They are also nature's safeguard from severe weather and important natural habitats for marine life. Further, the commercial and recreational fishing industries in New Jersey are vital to the economy and culture, generating billions in revenues and supporting more than two million jobs nationwide.

Oil spills from offshore oil exploration and production happen all too often. As recently as April 6, 2010, an oil spill occurred 10 miles off the coast of Louisiana that released 18,000 gallons of oil into a nearby wildlife refuge. Incidents such as this are simply too common and cause incalculable damage to our coastal communities. It is imperative that the United States focus our energy policy on solar, wind, geothermal, and other sustainable, renewable sources of energy.

It is important to note that we are not against harnessing energy from the Atlantic OCS. However, any energy development in the Atlantic OCS should be from renewable sources and not polluting fossil fuels. Focusing the five-year plan on developing renewable energy is environmentally responsible and will provide better long-term economic opportunities. Refocusing our energy plan on renewable resources will also create more jobs. Any investment in oil and coal instead of the clean energy economy would lead to a net loss of 14 jobs for every million dollars invested.

We respectfully request that you remove all oil and gas exploration and development in Atlantic OCS from the five-year plan. The potential benefit of any oil extracted from this region does not outweigh the risks associated with a potential spill off the Atlantic Coast.

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