Watch NJ Rally for Clean Ocean.

Trenton, NJ: Sierra NJ reports 4.26.2019 – Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told WSJ at the Senate hearing that the Trump administration’s plan for federal offshore oil and gas is on hold indefinitely. Due to the lawsuit blocking similar drilling in the Artic, Bernhardt has decided to wait on the outcome of appeals to the March case before deciding on the offshore drilling plans. In March, a federal judge in Alaska reinstated a ban on drilling in the Arctic originally implemented under the Obama administration.

Jeff Tittle Sierra Club NJ 2018

“We just had a victory when the Trump Administration pulled their plan to drill off the Atlantic and in Alaska. The decision by Secretary Bernhardt to hold off on Trump’s drill baby drill plan is good news for now but we don’t know if Trump will change his mind. We need to keep vigilant keep the pressure on. This shows the public outcry and lawsuits are working. The decision to put an indefinite hold on this proposal shows that public outcry and lawsuits against the Trump Administration are working. This is a victory for our oceans,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Even though we’ve won for now, every few years they keep coming back and we have to keep fighting. With the Trump Administration, they say they’re going to stop something, and they go ahead and do it anyway, so we need to stay vigilant.”

In late March, a federal judge ruled that an executive order by President Trump that lifted an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in 120 million acres of the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast was unlawful. The decision, by Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, concluded that the ban on oil and gas drilling will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.

“What Trump tried to do is illegal and Judge Gleason saw right through him. We have and keep fighting however because they try to move forward on drilling later. We won now but something else can happen.  Even though they stopped offshore drilling plans, they could still conduct seismic testing.  We must do everything we can to protect our shores, communities, and industries from the threats of offshore drilling. New Jersey’s coasts are directly affected by the Trump Administration’s proposal. Offshore drilling would be disastrous for our state’s environment and would jeopardize our $38 billion coastal economy and fishing industry. The possibility of an oil spill or leak would threaten New Jersey’s entire coastal economy. Drilling anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic would directly put our coasts at risk,” said Tittel. “Even though they are putting a hold on offshore drilling doesn’t mean it will include seismic testing. Which means we need to keep on fighting to protect our precious coast.”

The Sierra Club is part of a lawsuit against this senseless proposal that will defend our safety, ecosystem, fisheries, and coastal economies from Trump’s dangerous and greedy actions. The New Jersey Chapter Sierra Club has already filed a lawsuit along with 8 east coast states including Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia against the Trump administration to stop leases to explore for natural gas and oil offshore.

 “The decision by Bernhardt happened because of lawsuits and public pressure the Sierra Club is part of. We need to keep fighting and keep suing because they can come back and drill. More importantly, we need to stop seismic testing. Sierra Club is part of the lawsuit to stop Trump’s offshore drilling plan. The New Jersey Sierra Club has also filed suit against Trump’s seismic testing to defend our safety, ecosystem, fisheries, and coastal economies from Trump’s dangerous and greedy actions. Seismic testing is destructive and will lead to drilling. We should not gamble with our coastal tourism industry, ecosystems, fisheries and most importantly, the safety of the people who live along the coast.” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Any time we can stop a terrible Trump project, it’s good news for our environment.  We have been fighting to protect our coast for 40 years and will keep on fighting to make sure Trump doesn’t try something else or change his mind.”