Menendez, Lautenberg React to House Passage of Bill to Drill the Jersey Shore
Bill Would Threaten New Jersey’s Tourism and Fishing Industries
July 25, 2012
Washington – Today, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), leading voices in the effort to protect the Jersey Shore from coastline drilling, condemned the House of Representative’s passage of H.R. 6082, a bill to require oil drilling on the Jersey Shore and up and down our coasts.
“The federal government should not be allowed to endanger New Jersey’s economy by allowing oil companies to drill the Jersey Shore or neighboring states’ shorelines,” said Senator Menendez. “We never want to wake up one morning to find a black sheen of oil coating our beaches, killing our fish, destroying small businesses and costing thousands of jobs.”
"Once again, House Republicans have placed the interests of Big Oil ahead of America's oceans, marine life and coastal economies," stated Lautenberg. "We will keep fighting in the Senate to protect New Jersey's coastline and reject any bill that allows oil companies to drill near our state's beaches."
The Department of Interior already announced its 5 year offshore oil and natural gas leasing program for 2012-2017. The Program includes six offshore areas and schedules 15 potential lease sales for the 2012-2017 period – 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska. This proposed legislation in the House would supplant this plan with one that would mandate oil leases up and down our nation’s shores.
Much of New Jersey’s $35.5 billion tourism industry comes from the Jersey Shore and the state’s multi-billion dollar fishing industry would also be threatened by the specter of a potential oil spill.
Expanded Coastline Drilling Would Be a Threat to New Jersey
- When medical waste washed up on New Jersey’s beaches in 1988, there were 22% fewer visitors to the shore in 1988 versus 1987, which resulted in an estimated drop in revenue of more than $1 billion. [NOAA Technical Memorandum, 1990] And that was waste that could be fully cleaned up—unlike an oil spill. For example, as a result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska, 21,000 gallons of crude still linger in the areas where the spill occurred, and oil-stained sand can still be found on the beaches nearby. In the event of an oil spill, the Jersey Shore could be damaged permanently. [National Geographic, 03/23/2009]
- The New Jersey tourism industry in 2010 reached $35.5 billion in expenditures (and $4.4 billion in state and local taxes), and has nearly 310,000 workers (8.3% of total NJ workers) earning salaries totaling $10 billion -- providing hospitality to more than 67 million visitors to the Garden State. [NJ Tourism 2009-2010 The Great Recession & Tepid Recovery…So Far, 2010]
- In 2009, the combined sales of New Jersey’s commercial fishers, seafood processors and dealers, and wholesalers and distributors in the retail sector brought in more than $1.7 billion and provided 37,887 jobs. [NOAA: New Jersey Commercial Fisheries, 2009] New Jersey's commercial ports rank ninth in the nation in the value of their catch and 1.1 million recreational fishermen enjoy the Jersey Shore’s rich saltwater fisheries. [NOAA: State of the Coast, 2010] ###
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