Members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation are urging US President Barack Obama to keep offshore oil drilling away from the Atlantic Coast.
US Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, as well as Congressman Frank Pallone, have sent a letter to the president to keep the Atlantic Coast off limits for oil and gas exploration.
Menendez, Booker and Pallone noted that the environmental and economic consequences of an oil spill near the Jersey Shore would be catastrophic.
Citing the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the Senators and Congressman said offshore drilling poses a substantial risk of economic and environmental devastation for the shoreline communities.
The letter said: "Even today, more than four years after the BP oil spill, 60% of the 210 million gallons that spilled are unaccounted for and oil-soaked sand and tar balls continue to wash up on the beaches of the Gulf."
In June 2014, the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) unveiled the initial steps in the development of the 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
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The BOEM called for a request for information and a 45-day public comment period.
The letter added: "The Jersey Shore is a priceless natural treasure, providing recreation to generations of families and supporting a thriving ecosystem of marine mammals and sea life.
"We owe it to future generations to ensure that our pristine natural resources are preserved and protected from the polluting fossil fuel industry."
Image: New Jersey lawmakers urge the US President to protect the Jersey Shore from offshore drilling. Photo: courtesy of num_skyman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.