To The Editor,

I have the privilege of serving as Freeholder in the most beautiful county in the entire state. We have it all here: beaches, parks, busy downtowns, quiet farms and an abundance of natural resources.

Unfortunately, once again we are confronted with a proposal to develop the coastal resources of New Jersey. This time it's for oil drilling. In the past it has been for other uses that have come and gone. The one thing that has always remained is the irreplaceable natural resource that is the Jersey Shore itself. I believe our greatest responsibility is the protection of this resource.

One of the fastest evolving sectors of technology is energy generation. The push is on now for renewable resources and costs associated with them are dropping rapidly. We read everywhere that the internal combustion engine is dead.  Only time will tell and time is on our side. Today there are many sources for oil that are already being exploited and they are located in places where they're not in conflict with other important economic uses. The Jersey Shore economy is unique for its combination of the nature of the resource and its proximity to both population concentrations and one of the busiest shipping ports in the entire world. And this is in addition to its ecological value.

It is clear to me that priority should be given to the unique resource value of the shore. The idea of development of energy technologies should be left to a future when the best choice is clearer and potential risk to the existing shore economies can be minimized or eliminated. Until then New Jersey should be granted the same exemption from off-shore exploration and drilling Florida has received. This is not a time for alarmism but for pragmatic and decisive leadership.

I could not agree more with Freeholder Director Arnone and my colleagues that this proposal is simply for the wrong use at the wrong time in the wrong place. When placed in the proper social, economic and environmental context this should be clear to everyone. This is why I stand in opposition.

Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry

Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders