Photo: U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone Jr.; Source: Pallone's website

Congressman Pallone adds Atlantic offshore drilling ban to appropriations bill

U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. has announced that the House Democrats’ appropriations bill for the fiscal year 2021 would ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

Pallone, a representative for New Jersey’s 6th congressional district, said on Tuesday that he sent a request back in May to include the drilling ban in the proposal.

According to the Congressman’s statement, the appropriations bill is expected to be considered by the House of Representatives later this month.

The inclusion of this language makes it clear that House Democrats are committed to standing up to the Trump Administration’s efforts to put our beautiful coastlines at risk in exchange for a big payday for oil and gas executives.

This bill would ensure that no taxpayer money is used to develop fossil fuels off our shores. In the past, bans on offshore drilling have received bipartisan support, and I invite my Republican colleagues to join us as we work together to protect the beauty and health of our coastlines for generations to come”, Pallone stated. 

To remind, President Trump signed an executive order aimed toward allowing offshore oil and gas drilling along the East Coast in 2017.

According to Congressman Pallone’s provisions, the Secretary of the Interior or the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will be prohibited from conducting or authorizing oil and gas leasing and related activities along the Pacific coast, Atlantic coast, Florida’s coast, and in the Arctic Ocean.

Pallone also reminded that an oil spill along the Atlantic Coast would devastate communities and wildlife habitats.

Data from the statement suggests that the tourism industry in New Jersey generates $44 billion a year and supports over half a million jobs. The Jersey Shore is home to over $700 billion in coastal properties, and the tourism industry generates almost half a million jobs – nearly ten per cent of the state’s entire workforce.

He also emphasised that New Jersey’s commercial fishing industry generates over $7.9 billion annually supporting over 50,000 jobs and has one of the largest saltwater recreational fishing industries in the U.S.

Pallone has been as a longtime advocate of an offshore drilling ban. In January 2019, he introduced the COAST Anti-Drilling Act that would ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic.

In April 2019, he asked Secretary David Bernhardt at the Department of Interior to permanently abandon plans to conduct offshore oil and gas exploration.

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