New Jersey governor signs offshore drilling ban

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy took a stand against the Trump administration’s efforts to keep offshore drilling options open along the East Coast last week, signing a bill into law that will ban drilling in state waters.

The Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection from Offshore Oil and Gas Act “prohibits any drilling or activities or infrastructure that support offshore drilling from happening in state waters, which run from the shoreline to three miles out,” according to the Press of Atlantic City.

The wording of the bill prevents any infrastructure, including pipelines and supporting docks, in state waters, which would in turn thwart drilling operations in federal waters that would require shoreline support.

“Offshore drilling would be a disaster for our environment, our economy, and our coastal communities,” said Murphy. “The bipartisan legislation I am signing into law, on the eighth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Spill, will block oil companies from drilling in state waters. We simply cannot allow the danger of drilling off our coast. The societal, economic and environmental costs would be detrimental to the overall quality of life for our residents.”

“These are not theoretical, abstract potentials,” he added. “They happen, and they happen with an alarming frequency.”

The bill also requires the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to review any proposed oil or natural gas development in the Atlantic’s exclusive economic zone to determine if the proposal would affect now-protected New Jersey waters.

“The last thing we need is a Deepwater Horizon-type disaster off the Jersey coast,” said Clean Water Action New Jersey Board Chairwoman Janet Tauro in a statement.

“We cannot allow President Trump’s anti-environmental and pro-polluter agenda to hijack our economy or our environment,” said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

The legislation received a 37-0 vote in the Senate and a 72-1 vote in the Assembly.

Legislators in California, Rhode Island, New York and South Carolina have introduced similar bills in their states. Washington state legislators have one being developed, and Maryland has introduced a bill expanding liability on businesses that cause oil spills.

About the author

Samuel Hill

Samuel Hill is associate editor for National Fisherman.

© Diversified Communications. All rights reserved.