WASHINGTON — Don’t expect to see oil rigs off the Jersey Shore.
That was the message the state’s Republican lawmakers walked away with following a meeting Tuesday with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
“If it’s not off the table, it will soon be off the table,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., one of four GOP representatives from the state who joined other Atlantic Coast lawmakers and Zinke at the U.S. Capitol.
President Donald Trump, overturning a five-year plan that excluded the Atlantic Coast until at least 2022, proposed opening almost the entire continental shelf to oil drilling.
Zinke plans more meetings with state officials on proposal, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has planned 23 public meetings, and those who cannot attend a session can comment at www.regulations.gov by submitted by March 9, Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said.
Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., said Zinke acknowledged that the area off the coast off New Jersey met none of the criteria for opening the area to oil drilling.
“He said, ‘You don’t have any reserves, you don’t have any onshore infrastructure.,” LoBiondo said, “He said, ‘You’re not a prime candidate. You have unanimous bipartisan opposition to this. These are things we’re looking at carefully.'”