Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) is set to reintroduce a bill barring all offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.
“As the world transitions to a clean economy, there’s simply no logical reason to put our coastal communities and ocean ecosystems at risk with unnecessary and dangerous drilling off our coast. Emissions from offshore drilling fuel the climate crisis and threaten vulnerable coastal communities and wildlife,” said Pallone, chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism Anti-Drilling Act bars the Department of Interior from approving leases related to the production of oil or gas along the country’s east coast.
The measure would codify an executive order President Joe Biden issued in January that froze the issuance of new leases for on and offshore oil and gas drilling on federal property.
“We must work toward a clean economy that permanently bans offshore drilling, protects coastal economies, and creates jobs,” the congressman said. “President Biden’s early action to protect our coastline from offshore drilling is a good first step, and I’m looking forward to working with the President to ensure we enact a permanent ban on this dangerous practice.”
Offshore drilling is a key issue in Pallone’s district, which includes coastal portions of Monmouth County. The issue cuts across party lines in New Jersey’s shore communities. Environmental damage, say from an oil spill, could hamstring tourism and commercial fishing that bring jobs to the region.
“New Jersey is future-focused and we know that offshore oil exploration and extraction belong in the rearview mirror,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “We thank Congressman Pallone for introducing his COAST Anti-Drilling Act to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. We cannot lead the nation and the world toward a clean energy future if we do not put the past behind us.”