The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) recently released their 5 year oil and gas drilling plan. The plan includes opening the Atlantic Ocean, from Georgia to Virginia, for offshore oil and gas leasing starting in 2017. Adding insults to the sea, BOEM's authorization for ocean blasting activities for oil and gas exploration may start as early as this summer.
Due to the Gulf Stream, a current that flows from the tip of Florida up the east coast, New Jersey's coast would be at great risk from any pollution or spills from offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Opening up this area to oil development and exploration could have devastating effects on beaches, marine life, tourism, fisheries, and coastal economies. Expanding offshore drilling will move America away from conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. Instead America will be moving towards a potentially catastrophic spill and the acceleration of climate change.
In the coming months, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be released and the final public hearings will be held. The tentative schedule is available here and is as follows:
- Week of April 13: FEIS released (which starts the 30-day public comment period)
- Week of May 4th: Final public hearings take place (note: although these public hearings fall within the public comment period of the FEIS, they are technically the "Application Public Hearings," and as such, will cover facets of the project application beyond environmental matters. The Governors must issue their veto within 45 days after the last public hearing).
- Week of May 18th: End of FEIS public comment period
- Week of June 15th: End of Governor veto period
- Week of August 3rd: MARAD issues their decision (assuming that one or both governors didn't previously veto it)
We also have the time now to get towns throughout NJ as well as state legislature to pass the resolutions (SR 21, AR17) opposing Port Ambrose and urging Governor Christie to veto this project. Let's work together to make sure we sink this proposal once and for all.
Rutgers University, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and the University of Texas, seek to conduct a seismic ocean blasting survey off the coast of New Jersey for 30 days between June and August 2015 to study changes in sea level from 6- million years ago to the present. If allowed to proceed, survey will use of four-air guns that will fire 246 decibels, every 5-6 seconds, 24 hours a day for 30 days in a small area off Long Beach Island, NJ. The summer is the peak season for marine life off the Jersey shore including. Most of the species of the region are breeding, spawning, or migrating. The area is thriving with marine life.
Seismic testing is of great concern for marine life, the following are recent comments, reports, and letters from top marine scientists and government agencies.
Is your town Sustainable Jersey certified or interested in obtaining certification? Then the Municipal Blue Star program is for you! Learn about COA's new municipal Blue Star Program that is in collaboration with Sustainable Jersey's Certification Program. Our goal is to inspire towns to achieve Sustainable Jersey certification and reap its benefits, while at the same time focusing on watershed-wide water quality improvements.
For more information contact Catie Tobin via email or call 732-872-0111.