Just a year after the disastrous Gulf fire and oil spill, six of the state’s House members have voted in favor of offshore oil drilling. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11), Scott Garrett (R-5), Leonard Lance (R-7), Frank LoBiondo (R-2), Jon Runyan (R-3), and Chris Smith (R-4) voted to rush drilling permits and thwart administrative and judicial reviews (H.R. 1229) and to allow drilling just 75 miles from N.J. along Virginia’s Coast (H.R. 1230). Only Garrett (R-5) voted to overturn Pres. Obama’s moratorium on Arctic, Gulf and Atlantic Coast exploration (H.R. 1231).

Any vote for ocean drilling by a state Representative is a slap in the face to New Jersey’s citizens, who live in one of the most polluted states in the nation. But pro-oil politicians falsely claim we must increase drilling because:

  • ·Drilling will lower gas prices. A lie. Price hikes are due to increased demand by China and India’s expanding industrial development; investors’ concerns that political upheavals in the Middle East might disrupt oil production; and the aggressive purchase of oil by speculators, who hope to profit from the instability – real and perceived – of the worldwide oil industry. If new oil reserves were found tomorrow, it would take a decade for them to reach the market.
  • ·We must find new domestic sources of oil. A lie. First, the oil industry already has 68 million acres under leases, which they are not exploring at all. Instead, they manipulate our fears about gas prices to grab as many leases as they possibly can, not to find new oil, but to “bank” these leases for when existing fields are tapped out. Second, oil companies prefer tight markets to excess supplies to keep prices high.
  • ·Drilling in the U.S. will mean more oil for Americans. Also a lie. Oil is a worldwide commodity that to goes to the highest bidder. Oil found in any country – such as the U.S. -- doesn’t mean it will be consumed there.
  • ·We will be independent of foreign oil. Another lie. The U.S has about 2-3 percent of the world’s reserves but consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil production – 20 million barrels a day -- two-thirds of which we import.
  • ·We need the jobs. A con. Our recession and 9 percent unemployment rate was caused by shenanigans in the financial markets, not by the lack of drilling.

Drill less and conserve more, such as increasing the gas mileage of all vehicles to 60 miles per gallon. This would cut usage by 20 percent and reduce the pain of oil prices.

But drilling will never make us independent of foreign oil.

Joellen Lundy, President
N.J. Friends of Clearwater