OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe that the State of New Jersey had joined a motion in federal court seeking to block drilling-related seismic testing activity:
“No matter how you look at it, proposals for offshore drilling are more than unnecessary to New Jersey’s economy – they are potentially harmful,” said Senator Gopal.
“In addition to diminishing the quality of life for residents, a spill could kill New Jersey’s tourism industry, which generates more than $38 billion a year. This vital industry comprises nearly 7 percent of our State’s entire economy, supporting nearly one in 10 New Jersey jobs while generating more than $4.8 billion in state and local government revenues. I applaud the efforts of Attorney General Grewal and Commissioner McCabe to fight these proposals in defense of our beautiful shores and vibrant coastal economy.”
“Opening portions of the Atlantic Ocean for offshore drilling would put beaches, fisheries, and marine life all along the coast at risk,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling, who serves as Chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Seismic testing alone has the potential to inflict great harm on our local populations of marine mammals and other wildlife. An oil spill off the New Jersey coast would harm our fragile marine ecosystem; kill off endangered and threatened species of fish, birds and other wildlife; and poison the many types of fish and shellfish that are enjoyed by millions of people. We have seen time and again that offshore drilling can irreversibly damage precious marine and coastal resources, which itself would cause great harm to our fishing industry and local conservation efforts. It is only right that our federal courts recognize the priceless value that our pristine coast holds for our State.”
“Rather than drilling for oil, we should focus our efforts on renewable energy production, including solar and wind energy,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “Instead of jeopardizing coastal economies and the environment with the extraction of more fossil fuel, let’s promote sustainable renewable energy sources that have the potential to create thousands of jobs here in New Jersey. The beaches are one of our greatest treasures, both to the culture of our great State and to its economy. We cannot willingly put such a key asset in jeopardy.”