TOMS RIVER, NJ — The Ocean County Board of Freeholders is strongly opposed to a Trump administration plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling to the waters of nearly every coastal state in the nation. The board plans to vote on an official resolution on Wednesday against the coastal drilling.
The proposal by the Trump Administration includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas: 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and nine in the Atlantic region.
“I absolutely am opposed to any offshore drilling of any kind off the coast of New Jersey," said Freeholder Joseph Vicari. "Drilling for oil and natural gas off our coastline would pose more problems than it would remedy.”
Trump plans to open up 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf off the U.S. coast to oil and gas exploration in the largest single expansion of off-shore drilling activity ever proposed.
The Draft Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program was embraced by oil and gas industry groups but is expected to face withering opposition from a wide range of state officials and conservationists.
“Nothing is final,” U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Jan. 4. “This is a draft program. The states, local communities and congressional delegations will all have a say [before the proposal becomes final in the coming months]."
Trump has recently allowed Florida to stay off the list of Atlantic states that have potential drilling capacities.