Home Shore Environment Ocean County Legislators Opposing Plan to Open Atlantic Ocean to Drilling

Ocean County Legislators Opposing Plan to Open Atlantic Ocean to Drilling

The north jetty of Barnegat Inlet at Island Beach State Park. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The north jetty of Barnegat Inlet at Island Beach State Park. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Assemblyman Greg McGuckin and state Sen. James Holzapfel (both R-Ocean) are both sponsoring resolutions in their chambers of the state legislature expressing opposition to the Obama administration’s plan to open the Atlantic coast to oil drilling.

While the administration’s plan does not include drilling off New Jersey, it would be allowed off the Virginia coast, close enough to pose a serious threat to the environment should a spill occur, environmentalists have said.

“A proposal such as this would have devastating effects on New Jersey especially if an oil spill were to occur off our waters,” McGuckin said in a statement. “The economy relies heavily on our fishing and shipping industries as well as the billions of dollars generated each year from tourism. The impact of a single oil spill would permanently damage the ocean’s ecosystem and cause economic harm to all states boarding the Atlantic Ocean.”


Under a plan proposed last month by the Department of the Interior, offshore drilling leases would be open from 2017 to 2022 between Virginia and Georgia. The same proposal would ban drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in Alaska. The announcement of plan faced immediate opposition by New Jersey lawmakers and environmental advocates. Earlier this month, the New York Times came out against east coast drilling in an editorial, referencing the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to argue that “the benefits of drilling do not outweigh the threat to local economies, public health and the environment when an inevitable spill occurs.”

“The federal government must take into account the events of the past such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which flooded the Gulf of Mexico with five million barrels of oil, permanently damaging the ocean’s ecosystem,” McGuckin said. “Drilling for oil and natural gas off our shore, despite the potential in the reserves, is not worth the risk.”

McGuckin’s resolution has been introduced in the state Assembly; Holzapfel’s resolution will be introduced in the Senate next week, a spokeswoman for the legislators said.

  • carolynfooteedelmann

    No oil drilling off the Atlantic Coast, at or near New Jersey. It’s not only about tourism dollars, everyone. This is the ATLANTIC FLYWAY! Migrating birds and whales require healthy air and water twice each year. Critically endangered piping plovers nest on our beaches, from Cape May to Sandy Hook, and surely on those of nearby states. Face the fact that wildlife has yet to recover from the Exxon Valdez spill, let alone the Gulf Coast oil explosion. Remember that the oil spokesmen initially told us the volume was 100s of gallons of poisonous, lasting oil. Remember that no one, anywhere, of any country, knew how to stop that toxic volcano. We must NOT open our shores to this, ever!

    Carolyn Foote Edelmann, Princeton
    NJWILDBEAUTY Nature Blog

  • Chuck Cumella

    DRILL DRILL DRILL America needs the oil!!!! I’m a fisherman, hunter etc…… BUT I LIKE TO WORK AND EAT: DRILLING IS GOOD>>>>>>

  • JW P

    Not that NJ has any meaningful oil deposits anyway- onshore or off- but this is blatant NIMBYism. You wanna fill ‘er up? Don’t expect Texas and Saudi Arabia to do all the heavy lifting. The oil/gas industry is a filthy and dangerous business.

  • Scott Right

    I live right on the beach. I love the beach and how clean it has become over the last 20 years. I am still in favor of drilling.