Washington, DC – A staunch opponent of drilling off the New Jersey coastline throughout his career, U.S. Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) today sent the following letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management requesting a public hearing in Cape May County on the recently released proposal for oil and natural gas exploration in the mid-Atlantic region.
In June 2017 LoBiondo joined with local business leaders, environmental groups and elected officials in Avalon to rally against plans to proceed with seismic testing off the Jersey Shore, a precursor to drilling.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
January 10, 2018
Dr. Walter Cruickshank Acting Director Bureau of Ocean Energy Management United States Department of the Interior 1849 C Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20240
I am writing to request that a public meeting be held in Cape May County, New Jersey to discuss The Department of the Interior’s Draft Proposed Plan (DPP) for a new National Outer Continental Shelf Program for 2019–2024.
As the Trump Administration considers a new plan to drill for oil and gas off the coast of New Jersey, it is imperative you hear from residents, businesses and local officials in communities along South Jersey’s coast. The DPP released on January 4, 2018, raises a number of serious concerns that should be brought to the Administration’s attention, discussed and addressed before any plan is finalized. These concerns can only be properly voiced by those on the ground who are directly impacted by the Administration’s proposed plan. This will be a great opportunity for the Department of the Interior to hear from residents, businesses and local elected officials in Cape May County and across the Jersey Shore.
The DPP poses serious economic and environmental risks to the marine wildlife and fish populations that our commercial fishermen rely upon for their livelihood, and pristine state beaches that support our tourism industry. As you know, together with both commercial and recreational fishing activities, tourism remains an economic driver along New Jersey’s 130 mile shoreline and brings in approximately $45 billion per year.
I strongly encourage you to schedule a public meeting in Cape May County or elsewhere in South Jersey to hear firsthand our serious concerns. If there is anything I can do to help facilitate this request, please reach out to Nicholas Down in my Washington D.C. office at 202-225-6572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your consideration of this important request.