President Barack Obama on Tuesday permanently banned oil and gas drilling off the New Jersey coast and in other parts of the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Virginia.

The action "recognizes the unique marine environment in the Atlantic and fishing's critical role in the region's economy and culture," Obama said in a statement.

"Specifically, the withdrawal includes areas that support habitat important to commercial and recreational fisheries. The withdrawal does not impact ocean uses beyond mineral exploration and development," the president said. 


New Jersey lawmakers, who have urged Obama to use his authority to prevent oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, applauded the action.

"The families and businesses who depend on a thriving Jersey Shore and clean Atlantic Ocean took an important step forward with the president's decision to permanently ban drilling in parts of the Atlantic," said U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

Both Menendez and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th Dist.) said Obama didn't go far enough and should ban oil drilling everywhere in the Atlantic.

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