Point Pleasant Beach – Taking swift action to ensure the environmental health and safety of the state’s coast and shoreline, Governor Phil Murphy today signed bipartisan legislation that bans offshore oil and gas exploration and its production in New Jersey’s ocean waters. The bill, A-839, also prohibits the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from issuing any permits and approvals for the development of any facility or infrastructure related to offshore drilling within or outside of New Jersey waters.
“Offshore drilling would be a disaster for our environment, our economy, and our coastal communities,” said Governor Murphy. “The bipartisan legislation I am signing into law, on the eighth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Spill, will block oil companies from drilling in state waters. We simply cannot allow the danger of drilling off our coast. The societal, economic and environmental costs would be detrimental to the overall quality of life for our residents.”
In addition, the bill requires DEP to review any proposed oil or natural gas development in the Atlantic region of the U.S. exclusive economic zone to determine if the proposal can reasonably be expected to affect New Jersey waters.
Last year, President Trump signed Executive Order 13795 to encourage oil and natural gas production off the Atlantic coast.
Opening the Atlantic Ocean for offshore drilling would cause catastrophic and lasting economic harm to the state’s 130-mile shoreline, which supports a tourism industry worth $44 billion annually and attracts millions of visitors each year.
It also would put New Jersey’s beaches, fisheries, and marine life along the coast at great environmental risk. An oil spill, like the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spill of 2010 in Louisiana, could damage the fragile marine ecosystem, kill off endangered and threatened species of fish and wildlife, and poison the many types of fish and shellfish, impacting New Jersey’s billion-dollar commercial and recreational fishing industry.
“The Jersey Shore tourism industry is a $44 billion economic engine and supports more than 838,000 jobs. We cannot allow President Trump’s anti-environmental and pro-polluter agenda to hijack our economy or our environment,” commented Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “We commend Governor Murphy for signing this important legislation into law to protect our environment, critical coastal economy, and shore communities from dangerous offshore fossil fuel extraction.”
The Center for American Progress added, “At a time when the Trump administration has made the federal government little more than a vehicle for the selloff of public lands and waters to oil companies, New Jersey has taken a bold step to protect its beaches, waterways, and its thriving coastal economy. Efforts to address climate change and protect sustainable industries like fishing and tourism are smart, forward-looking ocean policies that other coastal states should emulate.”
“New Jersey’s fishing industry supports approximately 50,000 jobs while our Jersey shore tourism industry is worth $44 billion annually,” Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo said. “Offshore drilling would unquestionably hurt the New Jersey shore economy as it relates to both the fishing and tourism industries. I’m grateful to Governor Murphy, Speaker Coughlin, and Senate President Sweeney for moving quickly to protect our shore.”
“Offshore drilling would have a damaging impact to the Jersey Shore, its multi-billion-dollar tourism industry and daily life for shore residents,” said Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak. "We should prohibit offshore drilling for oil and natural gas."
The legislation received a 37-0 vote in the Senate and a 72-1 vote in the Assembly
Bill sponsors include: Senators Jeff Van Drew and Troy Singleton as well as Assembly Members R. Bruce Land, Bob Andrzejczak, Vincent Mazzeo and, Nicholas Chiaravalloti.