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Seismic Testing Coming to NJ Coast

Date : Fri, 29 Jun 2012 12:48:49 -0400

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Seismic Testing Coming to NJ Coast This afternoon Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar approved the Bureau of Ocean Management's plan for seismic testing in the Mid Atlantic Ocean.The plan will allow for seismic testing in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean to evaluate oil, gas, and other resources, which is nothing more than a gateway for drilling off our coast. Drilling off our coast is a huge risk that we are not willing to take especially because it would harm our coast, tourism industry, and economy.

"Secretary Salazar and the DOI are more concerned about big oil then the impacts of offshore drilling. This is not about testing, it is about drilling off our coast when the 5 year moratorium ends.They are trying to play politics on oil drilling.They think they can appease the 'Drill, Baby Drill' crowd but that group wants drilling not testing.Meanwhile this plan is an insult to the people who support the Obama administration's green energy agenda and want clean oceans," *said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. * Seismic testing alone poses many impacts that have been shown to disrupt marine life and animals.Whales and dolphins are especially sensitive to seismic testing.Testing has also been shown to cause commercial fishing catch rates to decrease dramatically. This plan for seismic testing is nothing more than a gateway to drilling. Even though this plan also includes renewable energy it is primarily about oil and gas. Opening up the Atlantic Coast to oil exploration could make offshore drilling off our coast a reality. This is not the first time our coast has been threatened by drilling. This summer two bills were introduced that would fast track offshore drilling. Drilling off the coast of Virginia less than 100 miles from New Jersey's coasts will pose a threat to New Jersey because Shell Oil Company has said it plans to run a pipeline through our state's waters. There was even a bill will directly threaten New Jersey's coast by opening up virtually every coast to offshore drilling.

"This plan makes the moratorium meaningless because it would take five years to do the studies anyway. The Obama administration patted themselves on the back for putting in place the moratorium that pat now rings hallow. The administration is being fossil fuelish by putting our beaches at risk," Jeff stated. "They would not be testing or looking for oil unless they planned on drilling. Any potential drilling even off of the coast of Delaware or Virginia is a threat to New Jersey beaches. When we order sea food at our favorite restaurant down the shore we do not want to be ordering clams on the half shell oil." This will put New Jersey at risk for a potential oil spill off of our coast. Since they have not strengthened the regulations for off shore drilling the likelihood of a disaster off our coast is very real. Sierra Club's Don't Rig Our Coastal Economy report found that New Jersey's coastal tourism industry supports nearly 500,000 jobs, and one out of every six of the state's jobs are linked in some form to its shoreline. Visits to the area generate $16.6 billion in wages and add $5.5 billion to the state's tax coffers. If an oil spill where to occur off our coast it would have significant impacts on the tourism sector.During the summer of 1988 when medical waste washed up onto a 50-mile stretch of New Jersey's shore, tourism dropped off significantly and the area directly lost at least $1 billion in revenue.An oil spill off the coast of New Jersey could trigger an even more dramatic decline in tourism. Drilling in the mid-Atlantic could necessitate more pipelines being built off our coast to bring the oil to New Jersey refineries as well.An oil spill would not only affect our beaches and tourism, but our fisheries as well. New Jersey has a multi-billion dollar fishing industry in Cape May in particular, which would the area that would be most at risk. Not only does this put our coast at risk, but it undermines renewable energy and growing our green energy economy.

"One quart of oil pollutes a million gallons of water, but the only oil we want to see on our beaches in sun tan oil. We cannot trust Big Oil with our energy future. Even if the odds were one in a million, it's not worth the risk to our economy and to our environment. We cannot drill ourselves into energy independence. We have to explore new technologies for wind and wave power and remove obstacles that stand in the way of clean energy," said Tittel. "We have a choice between oil wells and wind mills off our coast and we prefer wind because in America the Beautiful is says 'sea to shining sea' not 'sea to oily sea.'"

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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