BRADLEY BEACH, NJ: 2.7.2018 – Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) issued the following statement at a Feb. 7 rally in Monmouth County opposing off-shore drilling along the Jersey Shore:

I am pleased to join you today in strongly opposing offshore drilling and exploration for oil and gas off the coast of New Jersey.

As a long-time opponent of drilling off the New Jersey coastline, I have serious concerns about this newest attempt and believe that New Jersey should be exempt. That is why on January 9th I wrote and led a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, signed by all members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, stating “strong opposition” to the proposal.

Like you, I believe the potential consequences of offshore drilling and exploration outweigh the possible benefit.  In short, New Jersey’s pristine beaches, marine ecosystem and economy are far too important to take a chance on drilling.

Economically, this proposal could impact 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product that rely on a healthy Atlantic Ocean—not to mention New Jersey’s $8 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry and our beach tourism, which contributes significantly to our over $40 billion tourism industry.  An oil spill off the coast of New Jersey, even a minor one, could wash ashore and wreak havoc on our beaches, wildlife, local residents and businesses which rely upon beach tourism.

Asserting our energy independence and protecting our environment do not have to be mutually exclusive, and I believe we must accomplish this in a way that does not compromise our coastal waters and beaches.

Therefore, I have been—and remain—unalterably opposed to the offshore drilling proposal, and I will continue fighting to protect New Jersey’s beaches and coastal waters from efforts to expand oil and gas drilling and exploration.