Tag Archive: offshore drilling

Democratic Assembly Members Urge Christie to Open His Mouth

No, that’s not a typo in the headline. Today, Assembly members L. Grace Spencer and Peter Barnes III urged Governor Christie to speak out against offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

Along with Jeff Tittel, the Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, Spencer and Barnes urged Governor Christie to fulfill the promises he made during his election campaign and protect New Jersey’s multi-billion dollar tourist industry from an Exxon-Valdez disaster.

Republicans such as Congressman Jon Runyan are trying to placate their constituents by opposing drilling off the Jersey Shore while at the same time kowtowing to their Koch Brothers sponsors by promoting drilling off of other states. Christie’s current position is similar. Of course, this position is untenable because an oil spill off of Virginia would have a devastating impact on our shores and on our tourist industry. Tillel contends that it would take true leadership from Governor Christie to urge his fellow Republicans to support a complete ban on offshore exploitation.

Barnes and Spencer joined Tittel at a press conference on this topic today, and Tittel unveiled a new radio advertisement from the Sierra Club that urges the Governor to speak out.

East Coast Oil Drilling

Eight months ago, we grumbled when the Obama Administration announced its plan to expand offshore oil drilling to the East Coast. Today, that drilling plan died quietly, with happy statements from Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Representative Pallone that their opposition was successful.

Good for them, but the bigger lesson is that adopting John McCain and Sarah Palin’s policies in exchange for no support at all from Republicans in Congress is doubly stupid: Once for not getting what you want, and second because most such conservative policies are inherently bad. I like Obama the man, but I sure wish I felt the lesson had been learned.  

An Open Letter to Jon Runyan

This letter is based upon a profile of Jon Runyan by Cynthia Burton in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dear Congressman-Elect Runyan,

Congratulations on your recent election.  I hope you work as hard to represent all the people of the Third District as you worked in your campaign.

As you take the oath of office in January, you become one of the youngest members of Congress, and I am pleased to learn that you will follow in the footsteps of your predecessors Jim Saxton and John Adler in emphasizing constituent services.  Often, the federal government is the stop of last resort for those who have been hit severely by the Bush Recession, and I’m happy to see that you will help them utilize the government as a safety net so they can enjoy the fruits of what America has to offer without worrying about choosing between food and medicine.

More after the fold…

New Jersey Poll on Congress and Energy

Our friends at Monmouth University Polling Institute have released two more subsets of the latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media Poll: One on federal officials and one on energy.

The approval-disapproval numbers for the sample of 801 New Jersey adults:

Obama 52-42

Lautenberg 45-31

Menendez 37-31

Own Congressman 54-28

We all know most Representatives are re-elected, but somehow I’m still surprised.  66% of the sample is “dissatisfied with the way things are currently going in Washington,” yet they like their own Congressman. Perhaps there is something to be said for the way district boundaries are drawn? In any case, this suggests to me that the NJ3 race is the only one to be competitive.  Most New Jersey adults (51%) think it doesn’t make any difference who controls Congress, with the parties splitting the remainder equally. That’s the disillusionment that the Republicans sought with their “Party of No” strategy in the Senate thanks to the super-majority rules.  

A comment on Bob Menendez: He just isn’t as well known. Not only his overall disapprove, but the subgroups of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans have virtually identical “disapproval ratings” as Lautenberg does.  His missing approval numbers are in the volunteered “Don’t Know” category, at least in this poll, and at the end of the 2012 those voters who like the very same acts by Obama and Lautenberg will vote for Menendez. You may recall that other pollsters recently found Menendez at a net  plus 7 (50-43, Rasmussen) and minus 5 (38-43, Quinnipiac.) But look at how pollsters can differ: Rasmussen’s automated poll of “likely voters,” which (I think) pushes voters for a second choice, has only 7% “don’t know” but Monmouth’s poll of adults, with presumably no pushing from the human operators, has 32%. Lots of people don’t vote! The pollster also has numbers showing there’s not much support for the recall effort.  

The headline for the energy poll was the offshore oil drilling:

Just 31% of Garden State residents are in favor of drilling for oil or gas off the New Jersey coast, while 63% are opposed. This marks a turnaround from two years ago, when a majority of 56% favored this energy option compared to only 36% who opposed it.

By comparison, support for both wind and nuclear energy remains basically unchanged. Fully 8-in-10 residents support the placement of energy-generating windmills off the New Jersey coast (80% today, compared to 82% in 2008) and just under 4-in-10 support building another nuclear power plant in the state (37% today, compared to 41% in 2008).

Pollster Patrick Murray observes that the coastal counties give the same numbers as the inland ones.

As for this Salem County resident, I think the interesting number is that 58% statewide oppose a new nuclear power plant.  

When asked “which of the following do you think should be the more important priority for U.S. energy policy – keeping energy prices low or protecting the environment?”, 28% go for low prices and 55% for the environment. 15% volunteer “both” despite not being given it as a choice.  New Jersey is not Sarah Palin country.

Stop Off Shore Drilling

Scott Garrett wants to drill off the coast of New Jersey. Most people in New Jersey have been against this idea. Well now we have the numbers to back it up.

The northern Atlantic Ocean, including the Jersey Shore, holds more economic value for activities such as commercial fishing and tourism than it does for oil extraction, according to a report released today by the New Jersey Sierra Club.

For every dollar an oil company would make from drilling off the North Atlantic coast, the more environmentally friendly pursuits of fishing and tourism would generate $12, making sustainable uses of the ocean more prudent than offshore drilling, the report said.


More numbers:

The report said New Jersey was responsible for generating $11.5 billion of the estimated $61 billion generated by leisure and hospitality and recreational and commercial fishing among the seven states in the North Atlantic region. The suspected oil and natural gas in the region is estimated at $5.1 billion, according to the report

Perhaps We Should Send Justin Murphy to Louisiana

On the oil disaster in the Gulf, Justin Murphy is quoted in today’s Inky stating “If we have one accident in 40 years, I think that’s a pretty good track record”.

Forty years from now, the Gulf Coast (and who knows how far this spill will expand) will still be recovering from BP’s criminality.  But his opponent Runyan is just as cavalier and uncaring.  

Where is John Adler on this?  Is he defending New Jersey’s coastline vigorously enough?

Virginia Offshore Oil Lease Sale Suspended

Today, the Obama Administration suspended the plans to drill off Virginia.

…the Interior Department has indefinitely suspended plans for an oil and gas lease sale off the Virginia coastline…

“The Department of the Interior is temporarily postponing public meetings on potential offshore activities so that information from the ongoing review of OCS safety issues that the president has directed can be appropriately considered in those meetings,” Interior spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez said.

There are good discussion at Blue Virginia and Environment Virginia. Longtime Blue Jersey readers may remember discussions of this issue by our Congressmen and us in 2006, 2008, and even 2010 before the latest Gulf spill.  Senator Menendez praised today’s action and says he would like to make the suspension permanent:

“The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, like the disaster last year in Australia, has opened a lot of eyes to the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘Too Safe to Spill’ oil rig. I am certainly glad that the administration acknowledges this and has pressed the Pause button. I hope that we can soon press the Stop button. I have made it clear that I will not support any legislation that does not include significant safeguards for the Jersey Shore, and that stands. We need to transition from 19th Century fuels sources to a 21st Century green economy that creates jobs, and this understanding should be reflected in climate change legislation.”

Thanks for trying, Senator Menendez

There’s a story at Huffington Post that tells the story of a potentially unsafe oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico:

The MMS inspection was at the behest of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) a fierce critic of offshore drilling. The New Jersey Democrat sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in late November following the Seadrill spill in Australia, requesting that the department look into the company’s operations in the Gulf. Salazar initially had pledged to “have a report by the end of February 2010.” But it never came, prompting Menendez to request information from the department once more, this time just days before the rig leased by BP exploded.

“There was a similar massive oil spill along the coast of Australia just last year that should have been a wake-up call,” Menendez said in a statement to the Huffington Post before the MMS report was released. “Now that the [BP] disaster is threatening our own communities and local economies, I think people understand that a ‘Too Safe to Fail’ rig doesn’t exist. I hope this will spur an investigation of SeaDrill, Transocean and other rig operators soon.”

Thanks for trying, Senator.

Senator Menendez: Offshore drilling “not too safe to fail”

Here’s video of Senator Bob Menendez’s statement during his offshore drilling press conference with Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bill Nelson. It’s a great statement:

For those of us who are more attention-span challenged, Frank Pallone’s twitter post is good too:

Was on @CNBC this am – BP was finalist for award to recognize offshore drilling safety. Ceremony was postponed for obvious reasons.

Now maybe you prefer scientists to politicians. I am an optimist so I hope this one is wrong:

Robert Weisberg, a physical oceanographer at the University of South Florida, told a conference call the so-called Loop Current that sweeps around the Gulf was poised to connect with the spreading oil slick.

Once “entrainment” occurs, he said, the oil would be pulled quickly south along Florida’s Gulf coast and out into the Florida Straits, between the United States and Cuba…

“Once it’s at the entrance to the Florida Straits it’s only another week or so before it could be in the vicinity of Miami or Palm Beach and one more week or so until it could be as far north as Cape Hatteras,” Weisberg said.

After that quote, I don’t think it takes a lot of imagination to think that a Virginia spill or a Delaware spill could affect the Jersey Shore.