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Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong support of Mr. BISHOP's amendment, of the Bishop/Crowley/Rangel/Pascrell/Pingree Amendment (#43) to strike sections of this bill that would open parts of the Atlantic coast, including the shores of my home state of New Jersey, to offshore drilling.

Setting aside the precedent we are setting here by funding a transportation authorization with revenues from energy development instead of user fees, House Republicans have clearly failed to learn the lesson from the catastrophic economic and environmental consequences of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For one, this bill fails to introduce any comprehensive new safety standards, such as the commonsense steps recommended by the President's bipartisan Oil Spill Commission in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

In light of that, I am especially concerned that this bill could result in new drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, including off of the shore of my home state of New Jersey. The people of New Jersey strongly oppose opening our shores to offshore drilling. A whopping 63% of New Jersey residents oppose oil and gas drilling off the coast of our state according to a 2010 Monmouth University poll, and through this legislation, the Tea Party wants to force the people of New Jersey to hand over our beaches to the oil companies.

New Jerseyans oppose offshore drilling because they understand the potentially devastating effects it could have on our economy in the event of a spill. The tourism and fishing industries support hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity across the state and region. In fact, tourism is New Jersey's second largest industry, supporting jobs for over 500,000 people and generating over $50 billion in economic activity for the state each and every year. The people who make their livings in this industry depend on the responsible stewardship of our waters and coasts for their livelihoods. Risky new drilling could put these jobs in jeopardy, potentially destroying more jobs than it would create.

I strongly urge my colleagues to support this amendment, which is fully paid for, and reject opening the northeast to new offshore drilling. Instead, we should be supporting and encouraging alternative energy development off our shores, as I have tried to do by introducing H.R. 3238, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act. New Jersey is primed to be a leader in the offshore wind industry, and this bill will create jobs and increase renewable domestic energy production in the Garden State.

Instead, by continuing to invest in further digging and drilling for oil rather than searching for new sources of energy, as the bill in front of us proposes we do, we will only end up digging ourselves a deeper hole.


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