New Jersey’s multi-billion tourism industry would be put at risk if the Obama administration allows oil companies to drill in the Atlantic Ocean, Sen. Robert Menendez said at a news conference Tuesday.

One spill similar to the 2010 Deepwater Horizonaccident in the Gulf of Mexico would put the brakes on the Shore’s economy, which already is struggling to recover from superstorm Sandy, Menendez, D-N.J., said.

“Every business here in Belmar and up and down the Jersey Shore relies on a healthy, vibrant Atlantic Ocean,” Menendez said. “It’s why people come here in the first place.”

Menendez was joined by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty. They spoke on the boardwalk here, and they couldn’t pick a better setting. Behind them, beach-goers kicked a soccer ball, tossed a football and soaked in the 80 degree, fairly breezy, day.

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