With news that legislation introduced this week would allow drilling in Virginia by 2012, New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) released the following statement in strong opposition of the proposal. The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act would allow oil drilling off the Virginia coast, less than 100 miles from Cape May, a major tourist attraction and source of income for New Jersey.
“Drilling off the coast of Virginia puts New Jersey in the crosshairs for an oil spill. Cape May is less than 100 miles from Virginia waters and oil slicks do not respect state borders. The Gulf spill and the current spills on the Yellowstone River and off the coast of China show that oil drilling always has risk. New Jersey’s coastal economy is worth tens of billions of dollars, so this project is a direct threat to our economy.” Said Menendez.
“If a spill like the Exxon Valdez or BP oil spill in the Gulf happened off Virginia’s coast, New Jersey’s multi-billion dollar coastal economy would be one of the first casualties,” said Lautenberg, who was the first senator on the scene of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. “The costs of an oil spill to our economy, environment and health are too high. Offshore drilling isn’t the solution to our energy problems, and I will fight this legislation and continue to push for 21st century clean energy solutions.”
Earlier this year, Senator Menendez (D-NJ) and Lautenberg (D-NJ) reintroduced the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Act to ban drilling off the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Maine.