***VIDEO*** Menendez: We Killed the Bill, Now Let’s Kill the Drill Once and for All

***VIDEO*** Menendez: We Killed the Bill, Now Let’s Kill the Drill Once and for All

Senator calls on Obama to use authority to end drilling off the Atlantic; Votes to kill GOP bill that would reward big oil, expand offshore drilling

 
WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a longtime fighter against oil drilling off the Atlantic coast, today called on President Obama to use his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently ban drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The senator also spoke out against, and helped stop, a Republican bill that would boost financial incentives to expand offshore drilling.

“We’re one week past an election where my colleagues on the other side of the aisle campaigned on promises to ‘drain the swamp’, to break the mold in Washington, to free government from the powerful special interests,” said Sen. Menendez, moments before voting against the GOP bill. “And what’s the first bill we debate on the Senate floor?  Another giveaway to Big Oil—one of the most powerful special interests in Washington.”

Sen. Menendez called on President Obama to use his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently ban drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.  Congress gave the President the authority to permanently protect coastal waters from oil and gas drilling—while still allowing for important economic activities like fishing, shipping, and developing offshore wind energy. Unlike a traditional executive order, this designation cannot be undone by a future Administration.

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Menendez calls on President Obama to use authority to end oil drilling

 

The Senator’s remarks follow: 

“This past March, President Obama made it clear than he was listening when he fully removed the Atlantic Ocean from the five-year oil and gas leasing plan.

“This was an important win, but it’s a temporary victory.  It’s clear by the Senate’s consideration of the legislation before us today that lining the pockets of Big Oil executives is going to remain a top priority for the majority party.

“We must do everything in our power to stand up to the oil industry, protect our coastal communities, and fight for the people whose lives depend on a vibrant shore economy.

That’s why today, I’m calling on President Obama to use his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently ban drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The authority was given to the President by Congress to permanently protect coastal waters from oil and gas drilling—while still allowing for important economic activities like fishing, shipping, and developing offshore wind energy. 

“Unlike a traditional executive order, this designation cannot be undone by a future Administration.  

“It would ensure that the rights of our shore communities—to run their businesses, to vacation with their families, to fish in clean coastal waters—are protected for generations to come.

“It would continue the Administration’s commitment to preserving our environment, to protecting public health, and to strengthening local economies.

“And it’s not just the Atlantic that deserves this protection—I also hope that President Obama gives the same consideration to the Arctic Ocean.  The Arctic is a fragile ecosystem depended on by subsistence hunters and diverse wildlife. 

“Extreme cold and harsh weather conditions make an Arctic oil spill both more likely, and harder to clean up.

“Declaring the Atlantic and the Arctic off-limits to Big Oil is a step the President can take immediately to show that we as a nation are committed to the future of our shore towns, our beaches, and our environment.

“Our public lands should be just that—public assets that are part of our national heritage.  This presidential action would ensure we treat them that way, instead of monetizing them to build profits for the oil industry.

“To me, the decision on offshore drilling is a simple question of values.   I value the generations of families who spend their vacations on the Jersey Shore.  I value the small businesses and fishermen who have built and sustained a thriving shore economy against all odds in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.  I value having clean coastal waters, which are home to diverse and rich ecosystems.  I value the commitment New Jerseyans have for a clean energy future. 

“Drilling in the Atlantic is antithetical to every one of these values.   And it’s because of those values that I intend to stand with the millions of Americans who have raised their voices and delivered the message to Big Oil: stay off our shores.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues and my constituents in the coming weeks to secure a permanent drilling ban for the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

“It will be lasting message for future generations—that we’re not willing to sell out the future of their economy, or the future of their environment, for short-term profits.

It’s a fight worth having, and it’s one I believe we can win.”

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