US Interior BOEM Bureau of Ocean Energy Management greets NJ Environmental Groups at Hamilton Hearing
WATCH NEWS VIDEO – NJ unites against offshore oil plan as US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management public hearing 2/14/2018 receives public statements. Newjerseystrong.com news
Hamilton, NJ- 2.14.2018 – NJ Sierra Club holds a people’s meeting with Clean Ocean Action, NJ and other environmental groups to oppose Trump’s offshore drilling proposal. Trump is proposing to open 90 percent of America’s coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling. This would give energy companies access to more than a billion acres off the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts. Under the new plan, the Interior Department would open 25 of 26 regions of the outer continental shelf to drilling. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:
“We are here to tell Donald Trump hands off the Jersey Shore. We will fight back to stop his reckless and dangerous offshore drilling plan. No oil, no way no how. We will stand up to that Fossil Fool in the Whitehouse and make sure his disastrous and greedy plan does not happen. We have been fighting drilling for 45 we will fight him for another 45 years. Come out and tell BOEM that there will be no sweetheart deal for Big Oil! We want to send Valentine’s to our coast!
“Donald Trump has declared open season on our oceans with his reckless and dangerous drilling plan and we are here to stop him. This is the biggest give away to Big Oil in U.S history. Donald Trump is selling out our coast from Alaska all the way to Maine while targeting New Jersey. The Administration is more concerned about corporate polluters and pollution than protecting our coast from the devastating impacts of an oil spill.
“Trump is trying to eliminate safety rules and push for seismic testing but we will not stand for this! Seismic testing not only harasses animals but can cause severe damage and can even lead to mass strandings of mammals and possibly death. Imagine having an underwater fireworks display going off around you 24/7 for 30 days. This is what it would be like for marine mammals, especially whales and dolphins. The Sierra Club has already filed a lawsuit against this senseless proposal that will defend our safety, ecosystem, fisheries, and coastal economies from Trump’s dangerous and greedy actions.
“We are telling Donald Trump hands off our $38 billion coastal economy. New Jersey’s coastal tourism industry supports nearly 500,000 jobs, and one out of every six of the state’s jobs are linked in some form to its shoreline. Visits to the area generate $16.6 billion in wages and add $5.5 billion to the state’s tax coffers. During the summer of 1988 when medical waste washed up onto a 50-mile stretch of New Jersey’s shore, tourism dropped off significantly and the area directly lost at least $1 billion in revenue. An oil spill off the coast of New Jersey could trigger an even more dramatic decline in tourism. When you have linguini and clams sauce by the shore you don’t want it to taste like Quaker state. What is even worse is that the oil and gas being drilled for could be shipped to Europe or Asia. That means the only oil we will see is the oil that will wash up on our beaches from a spill. We need to stand up to continue to protect our coasts and because one quart of oil pollutes a million gallons of water, so this is a serious threat.
“We are here to tell that Fossil Fool in the White House, kill the drill. Instead of offshore drilling, we need safe and renewable energy like wind power. The public needs to come out to the hearings and let them know that we want to kill the drill. We must stand up to President Trump and tell him the only oil we want to see off our beaches is Coopertone. We have a choice between windmills off our coasts and oil rigs. We choose wind. We have to explore new technologies for wind and wave power and remove obstacles that stand in the way of clean energy. We should be focusing on promoting safe and renewable energy like wind power and not opening up the Atlantic to drilling. We have beaten them before and we will beat them again. New Jersey is not going to stand for this disastrous plan and we will do whatever it takes to stop Trump. There will be no sweetheart deals for Big Oil. Instead, we will be sending a Valentine’s to our Oceans.”
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Public Meeting, William Brown, Chief Environmental Officer.
Hamilton Township, NJ – Wednesday, February 14, hundreds of citizens representing NJ’s leading environmental, fishing, business, and public interest organizations, along with Jersey Shore advocates rallied and testified at a press conference and Citizen’s Hearing to reject President Trump’s offshore oil and gas plan which opens 90% of US ocean waters to within 3 miles of beaches. The event coincided with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Public Meeting held in an adjacent room.
Selected excerpts from Elected Officials and Citizens are below. Citizens brought signs, cheered and spoke out showing “Ocean Emotion” on the Valentine’s Day event, packing the Anti-Offshore Oil Coalition’s Advocacy Room. Kicking off the press conference was a host of NJ state legislators who were amplified by Governor Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, US Senators Menendez and Booker, and US Representatives Pallone and Smith. This was the first time FaceTime connected leaders to a real time ocean action rally in NJ.
“In New Jersey, almost all democrats and republicans are opposed to offshore drilling.” “It’s Wrong for New Jersey, it’s wrong for the entire coast of the United States. People should have a say.” – Senator Linda R. Greenstein, 14th Legislative District, Assistant Majority Leader
“I spent my whole career as a physicist working on alternative energy. It’s clear what you just heard. The future is in renewables. There is no future in fossil fuels and if we want to make America first not last, it is up to us. We need to become leaders in renewable energy and environmental protection.” – Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Chair, Science, Innovation and Technology Committee
“Besides killing our marine life, besides endangering different species of fish and hurting our tourism, we are not even looking at renewable energy resources which have to be the future and we have to do that because other countries are.” – Assemblywoman JoAnn Downey, 11th District.
“I am proud to stand with you all and Senators Booker and Menendez, Congressman Pallone and others to say to the Trump administration, you will NOT drill off our precious shores!” – NJ Governor Phil Murphy
“We have to let those in Washington know that we aren’t going to back down and let this happen.” – Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, 11th District
Governor Phil Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, Congressman Frank Pallone, Congressman Chris Smith, Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Cory Booker, who were unable to attend, joined the rally via Facetime to voice their bi-partisan opposition to the plan and cheer on citizens for choosing to spend their Valentine’s Day expressing their love for the ocean and the Jersey Shore.
“President Trump’s plan to open our coast to drilling is the greatest threat the shore has ever faced. It is backwards thinking. We need renewable resources to combat climate change, not more fossil fuels to contribute to climate change and this is the direction we are taking in New Jersey.” – NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy
The Citizen Hearing, held in the terrace room which was transformed into the Ocean Advocacy Room, ran from 3pm-7pm. Citizens from across the state stood in front of a BOEM Brick Wall and addressed the crowd with spoken testimony which was recorded by a professional transcriber. Clean Ocean Action will submit the entire hearing to BOEM for the record. Over 70 citizens spoke for three minutes each and shared passionate and important testimony.“The fact of the matter is that President Obama in 2017 decided that the Atlantic should not be open to oil and gas drilling, closing the book on future drilling for at least 5 years. Frankly, I think this is absolutely illegal that the Trump administration has decided to open it up again and we are going to continue to make that point.” –Congressman Frank Pallone
“The idea that federal agencies would host a poster session like a science fair and hide from public accountability by not providing a public hearing is an insult and is unacceptable. This is why Clean Ocean Action is offering a Citizen Hearing, and we have set up a mock-up of a typical federal hearing. It’s complete with shadows of the federal officials responsible for today’s BOEM charade, including President Trump; Roger Zinke, Secretary of Interior; Walter Cruickshank, PhD, Acting Director of BOEM; but towering over them all is “BIG OIL,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. Immediately following the Press conference the excited crowd swarmed the BOEM Public Meeting in mass where they were given vague answers to their many questions and concerns, viewed outdated fact sheets and posters and had the opportunity to submit comments online via laptops provided by BOEM. The meeting did not allow for spoken testimony to be submitted.
“If you drill then you’re going to spill and we cannot afford a spill along our beautiful shoreline. We cannot afford the damage to our recreational and commercial fishing. We cannot afford to damage our property values. We cannot afford to damage the legacy that New Jersey-ians and people across the country have to enjoy at the Jersey shore. It is our birth right as New Jersey-ians to have a clean ocean. We invite Zinke to come to New Jersey and come down the shore and have a real hearing. To Cindy and all of you at Clean Ocean Action, we are going to get our message across and we are going to persist in getting a real hearing because we know what is at stake. We are not going to let them drill off our shore and we are going to do everything we can. We have a record number of co-sponsors in my legislation, the COAST Anti-Drilling Act, which has a permanent ban on drilling. The entire delegation has written to the administration opposing the drilling plan and we won’t stop until they stop.” – Senator Bob Menendez
“Happy Valentine’s Day and for all the people who love our environment, who love a clean ocean, who love the greatness of New Jersey: this is a day that we show our love, we don’t talk about our love. As Dr. Cornel West has said, ‘Love often involves fighting for justice and justice is what love looks like in public.’ This has been proposed in the past and it is being proposed now but I see a future where drilling off the coast of New Jersey is permanently banned. We are going to fight down here in Washington.” – US Senator Cory Booker
“It’s like here we go again. We had a similar proposal during the Obama administration. Now the Trump administration has resurrected that, a little worse. We want to protect the fish, the wildlife, and the environment. So we are here to protect our precious beaches from offshore oil and gas substances, to make sure our voices are heard. We will get everything you say not just to him [Sec Zinke] but to the President and Vice President. We will make it very clear: not here, not now, not ever.” – Congressman Chris Smith
Participating Anti-Offshore Oil Coalition Organizations: Clean Ocean Action, American Littoral Society, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Surfrider Jersey Shore, Surfrider South Jersey, Surfrider Mid-Atlantic, WaterSpirit, ANJEC, Blue Wave NJ, Food & Water Watch, League of Women Voters of NJ, NJ Conservation Foundation, Bus for Progress, Clean Water Action, Jersey Shore Partnership, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Raritan Riverkeeper, Mott McDonald Engineers, National Parks Conservation Association, Alaska Wilderness League, Cape May Chamber of Commerce, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Sierra Club of New Jersey, Alliance for a Living Ocean, Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, Citizens Climate Lobby, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Edison Wetlands Association, Garden Club of LBI, Garden State Seafood Association, New Jersey Audubon Society, Save Barnegat Bay, Surfers’ Environmental Alliance, Gotham Whale.