Senate's Lead Opponent Of Offshore Drilling Pans Bush-McCain Plan To Open Up The US Coastline

Senate's Lead Opponent Of Offshore Drilling Pans Bush-McCain Plan To Open Up The US Coastline

Sen. Menendez is author of legislation to permanently ban drilling in OCS, has led numerous defeats of offshore drilling amendments over the past year

Washington - Today, President Bush called on Congress to lift a moratorium on drilling for oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf, off the East and West coasts of the U.S. This announcement dovetails with the drilling plan announced yesterday by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Senator Robert Menendez is the U.S. Senate's leading opponent of drilling in the OCS, having introduced the COAST Act to permanently ban drilling there ( and having helped lead four defeats of OCS drilling amendments in the Senate over the past year ( He is also a lead sponsor of legislation to spur oil companies to utilize 68 million acres of unused land that has been leased to them ( Today, Senator Menendez blasted the Bush-McCain plan:

"As if John McCain wouldn't have a hard enough time selling the American people on this over-hyped plan, it now has the stamp of approval from a president who is an oil man and who has been wrong on just about every issue over eight years. Giving another handout to oil companies while they sit on 68 million acres of unused land leased to them by the American taxpayer is absurd. It's time that this government stopped bending over backward for oil companies and instead prodded them to get to work on the huge tracts of unused land already at their disposal.

"To hear George Bush and John McCain say it, you'd think gasoline is going to run straight out of the ground and right into your car. What they either don't want to tell the public or simply choose to ignore is that it will take at least a decade to see any production out of those areas, and even then it will just be a drop in the bucket. This is not a relief plan for American families, it's a relief plan for oil companies."

Effect on New Jersey:

"This nonsensical, over-hyped plan could have a disastrous effect on the economy and environment of our state. The millions who will visit the Jersey Shore this summer and the thousands of businesses that thrive off of the tourism can tell you that an oil spill washing up on our beaches would be a disaster in many ways. Planting oil derricks and pipelines less than 100 miles from the Jersey Shore would have no effect on gas prices, would deepen our dependence on oil and would threaten the environment and economy of our state. That sounds like a lose-lose-lose-lose proposition."