NJ governor signs bill to block offshore drilling

NJ governor signs bill to block offshore drilling
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed into law Friday a bill meant to block offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in state-controlled waters.

The bill, which also bans permitting of any infrastructure to serve drilling farther offshore in federally controlled waters, is meant as a direct rebuke to the Trump administration’s proposal to allow drilling off of nearly all of the nation’s coasts, including off of New Jersey.

Murphy signed the bipartisan bill on the eighth anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and set off an 87-day oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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“Offshore drilling would be a disaster for our environment, our economy, and our coastal communities,” Murphy said in a statement.

“We simply cannot allow the danger of drilling off our coast. The societal, economic and environmental costs would be detrimental to the overall quality of life for our residents.”

New Jersey has 130 miles of shoreline. Its coastal tourism industry — highlighted in the reality television show "Jersey Shore" — is worth $44 billion annually.

The bill passed the state Senate unanimously and received only one vote against it in the Assembly.

Under the new law, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is also instructed to analyze any proposed drilling along the entirety of the Atlantic Coast for potential impacts to New Jersey.

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Zinke cleared of violating federal rules tied to Pennsylvania special election Overnight Energy: Trump unveils 2020 budget | Plan slashes funds for EPA, Interior and Energy | Interior request highlights border security MORE said earlier this month at a New Jersey event that expanded offshore drilling faces strong opposition and questionable industry demand in many areas.

“There is a lot of opposition, particularly off the East Coast and the West Coast, on oil and gas,” he said.”

“Most of the companies out there realize that you have to have infrastructure to tie your rigs together, that infrastructure's expensive, that also offshore oil and gas is a greater risk environmentally than producing offshore wind, for instance, as well as onshore oil and gas,” Zinke continued. “It seems like offshore oil and gas in this country is moving to Latin America, where some of the environmental regulations are not as strict.”