Today the Obama administration released its proposed 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The proposal keeps dirty fuel development off-limits along the Pacific and Northern Atlantic coasts, as well as in some areas of the Arctic Ocean, while opening up new areas off the Atlantic and Alaskan coasts to drilling. Areas from Georgia to Virginia could be opened up to offshore drilling, putting our coast at risk.
“Today’s announcement by the Obama Administration puts New Jersey’s coast at risk. Drilling up to theMaryland boarder will put oil wells 100 miles from our coast. Given the prevailing currents, any spill there would threaten our beaches .This proposal is shortsighted because of the potential for a little bit of oil could jeopardize our coast, our fisheries and our tourism industry,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of The New Jersey Sierra Club."NJ coastal economy is just starting to come back from Hurricane Sandy ,we need off shore drilling like we need another hurricane ."
The Atlantic Coast to oil exploration could make drilling off our coast a reality. Drilling off the coast of Virginia less than 100 miles from New Jersey’s coasts will pose a threat to New Jersey because Shell Oil Company has said it plans to run a pipeline through our state's waters. Since they have not strengthened the regulations for off shore drilling the likelihood of a disaster off our coast is very real. Sierra Club’s Don’t Rig Our Coastal Economy report found that New Jersey’s coastal tourism industry supports nearly 500,000 jobs, and one out of every six of the state’s jobs are linked in some form to its shoreline. Visits to the area generate $16.6 billion in wages and add $5.5 billion to the state’s tax coffers.
“We are disappointed with President Obama regarding the proposal for drilling off the mid-Atlantic, which puts our coasts at risk. However, the President still opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline and is better than fossil fools in Congress who would drill off all our coasts including right off the coast of New Jersey. We are also concerned about LNG proposals and others off our coast that would endanger our environment and economy,” stated Tittel.
If an oil spill where to occur off our coast it would have significant impacts on the tourism sector. During the summer of 1988 when medical waste washed up onto a 50-mile stretch of New Jersey’s shore, tourism dropped off significantly and the area directly lost at least $1 billion in revenue. An oil spill off the coast of New Jersey could trigger an even more dramatic decline in tourism.
“One quart of oil pollutes a million gallons of water, but the only oil we want to see on our beaches in sun tan oil. We cannot trust Big Oil with our energy future. Even if the odds were one in a million, it’s not worth the risk to our economy and to our environment. We cannot drill ourselves into energy independence. We have to explore new technologies for wind and wave power and remove obstacles that stand in the way of clean energy,” said Tittel.
Instead of drilling off our coast we should end the billions in subsidies for big oil and use that money for clean energy. Oil companies are making billions of dollars in profit at the expense of our environment and our wallets. This is from the Drill baby Drill crowd, which is really Spill Baby Spill crowd who rather expedite offshore drilling instead of investing in clean energy.
Drilling in the mid-Atlantic could necessitate more pipelines being built off our coast to bring the oil to New Jersey refineries as well. An oil spill would not only affect our beaches and tourism, but our fisheries as well. New Jersey has a multi-billion dollar fishing industry in Cape May in particular, which would the area that would be most at risk. Not only does this put our coast at risk, but it undermines renewable energy and growing our green energy economy.
“If they drill off our coast they would also be taking that oil to South Jersey or Bayway refineries. Pipelines and oil tankers would also put our coast at risk. Offshore drilling is not worth the risk when we can be investing in renewable and offshore wind. The choice is ours whether we want wind mills off our coast or oil rigs.Dont be fossil foolish with our coast no off shore drilling . We want windmills with the only oil we want to see on our beaches is suntan oil,” said Jeff Tittel.