**VIDEO RELEASE** Menendez Denounces Trump Plan to Allow Oil Drilling Off Jersey Shore

**VIDEO RELEASE** Menendez Denounces Trump Plan to Allow Oil Drilling Off Jersey Shore

Menendez, Murphy, Pallone Hold Press Conference After Trump Admin announces plans to reverse Obama-era protections, drill for oil in Atlantic Ocean


LONG BRANCH, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Governor-elect Phil Murphy and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06) today fired back at the Trump Administration’s plan to allow oil drilling off the Jersey Shore.  The three were joined by incoming first lady Tammy Murphy and leading environmental advocates from Clean Ocean Action, Environment NJ, Sierra Club and Clean Water Action at a news conference at McLoone’s Pier House, a local business on the Long Branch boardwalk that would be impacted if an oil spill in the Atlantic should reach the Jersey Shore.

In addition, Sen. Menendez and Rep. Pallone, along with Sen. Cory Booker, sent a letter today urging Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reject the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plan to open the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas exploration, which threatens the health of Jersey Shore beaches and its thriving economy. 





“A pristine and thriving Jersey Shore is our birthright, and we must do everything we can to protect it from a Trump offshore drilling plan that defies common sense, disregards the concerns of our shore communities and imperils the homes and livelihoods of everyone who depends on our coastline,” said Sen. Menendez.  “What’s happening here is a dream scenario for Big Oil—but a nightmare for our shore communities.  It’s a gift to corporate polluters at the expense of our coastal economies.  We’ve been through this fight before—and we’ve won.  It’s a fight worth having, and I’m going to do everything I can in Congress to put a stop to it.”

The Trump Administration announced yesterday the largest planned expansion of offshore drilling in decades in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico, including in areas previously blocked off the Jersey Shore and throughout the Atlantic from Florida to Maine.

The federal lawmakers expressed added concern given Trump Administration efforts to roll back established offshore drilling safety standards put in place after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, including the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s well control rule, which updated requirements for offshore drilling equipment in an attempt to prevent another catastrophic oil spill.

The economic and environmental devastation caused by the Deepwater Horizon tragedy far exceeded what many believed would be the worst-case scenario for an offshore oil accident.  More than seven years later, the Gulf Coast still hasn’t fully recovered from its catastrophic impact.  At a time when New Jerseyans are continuing to rebuild their lives after Superstorm Sandy, the last thing they need is the prospect of a manmade disaster from an oil spill.

Sens. Menendez and Booker and Rep. Pallone led the charge in 2015 to remove the Atlantic Ocean from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program (Five-Year Plan)

The New Jersey lawmakers also successfully convinced President Obama before leaving office to permanently ban oil and gas exploration in areas of the Atlantic Ocean by exercising the authority granted to him by Congress under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).

In May, Sens. Menendez and Booker and Rep. Pallone reintroduced their Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act that prohibits the U.S. Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas in the North, Mid-, or South Atlantic Ocean or the Straits of Florida.