NEWARK, NJ (CBS) — New Jersey’s congressional delegation is putting heat on the Trump Administration over a proposal to allow oil exploration and drilling in ocean waters off the east and west coasts.
The delegation wants the Secretary of the Interior to hold a hearing along the Jersey Shore before any final decisions are made.
Senior Senator Bob Menendez suggests politics may be at play, given Secretary Ryan Zinke’s reported decision to remove Florida, with a Republican governor, from the list of potential offshore drilling sites.
“If it’s no good for Florida because of the potential damage to their coastal economy, it’s certainly no good for New Jersey, whose coastal economy is a huge driver of the state’s overall resources and budget,” Menendez told KYW Newsradio.
A letter to Zinke signed by all 14 members of the delegation issues what’s called an “invitation” to hold a hearing on the plan somewhere along New Jersey’s shore.
The reported Florida exemption, in particular, gives Menendez pause, given every coastal state has to one degree or another noted how drilling could be adverse to the environment, not to mention tourism.
“I cannot understand how he’s going to differentiate,” the senator added, “and if he tries to, then that would be a position that will certainly be litigated.”
The letter also calls for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which has one scheduled public input meeting in Trenton, to hold a second down the shore.