The ‘Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection (STOP) from Offshore Oil and Gas Act’ prohibits offshore drilling in state waters
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Troy Singleton to prevent offshore drilling in state waters was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy today.
The law, entitled the “Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection (STOP) from Offshore Oil and Gas Act,” prohibits offshore drilling for oil or natural gas in state waters and prohibits the leasing of tidal or submerged lands in state waters for oil or natural gas production, exploration or development.
“The Jersey Shore is far too important to our state for us to gamble with the potential of losing it to environmental degradation or an oil spill,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Atlantic/ Cumberland). “The law shows that the Trump Administration cannot make a major decision like this without our approval. We have control over the first three miles off the coast; only we should be the ones deciding what we will do with it.”
New Jersey’s fishing industry supports approximately 50,000 jobs, while the Jersey Shore tourism industry is worth $38 billion annually.
“Offshore drilling poses a significant threat to all along the coast and also to our tourism industry, on which our local and statewide economy depends,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “We need to do whatever it takes to protect our environment, our marine life, and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of hard-working New Jerseyans that are at risk. I believe that this law is a great first step in the right direction.”
The law is a response to President Trump’s Executive Order No. 13795 entitled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” signed April 28, 2017, which encourages oil and natural gas exploration and production off the Atlantic coast.
The Department of Environmental Protection will implement the provisions of the law and within 30 days after the effective date, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection will submit this act to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to incorporate them into the enforceable policies of the approved state coastal management program.
Other states up and down the East and West coasts, like California, Rhode Island, Washington, and Virginia, have lined up opposing the offshore drilling plan proposed by the Trump Administration.