Legislation to ban offshore drilling in state waters was approved 71-2 Thursday by the state Assembly, its sponsors said.
Bill A-839, called the Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection (STOP) from Offshore Oil and Gas Act, would prohibit offshore drilling for oil or natural gas in state waters and ban the lease of tidal or submerged lands there for oil or natural gas production, exploration or development.
It will now go to the state Senate for further consideration.
State waters run from the shoreline to three miles out. Federal waters are three to 200 miles out to sea.
President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed plans to begin drilling for oil and gas in Atlantic Ocean federal waters, in its 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. A large bipartisan coalition has formed in opposition, saying the offshore drilling and possible spills would threaten the state’s $40 billion tourism industry and $6 billion fishing industry.
On Wednesday, offshore drilling opponents flooded a meeting near Trenton to discuss the plans by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Sponsors of A-839 are Assemblymen Bruce Land and Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, Vincent Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, and Nicholas Chiaravalloti, D-Hudson.