Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill on Friday that will prohibit offshore drilling in state waters, dealing a blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to open the East Coast to drilling exploration. In addition to banning drilling in state waters, the bipartisan legislation would prohibit the state Department of Environmental Protection from issuing permits that would allow a company to build facilities, like pipelines, that are meant to aid offshore drilling in state waters. The latter provision is key since the Trump administration’s proposal only targets federal waters off the East Coast, so prohibiting drilling in state waters wouldn’t block the effort. New Jersey’s legislation makes it much harder for a company to drill in federal waters by blocking the use of critical infrastructure in state waters. The signing shows how New Jersey is leading the charge among East Coast states that have vowed to use any legal means at their disposal to block the controversial proposal.
The Greater Atlantic City Chamber, along with other business and environmental organizations, has consistently opposed any kind of offshore oil exploration.