POINT PLEASANT — Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a ban on offshore drilling in state waters, just before the start of Earth Day and Earth Week festivities and on the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off Louisiana.

The law prohibits any drilling or activities or infrastructure that support offshore drilling from happening in state waters, which run from the shoreline to three miles out.

That means the state would not allow any facilities that would support drilling in federal waters, according to co-sponsor state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic.

States including New York, California, South Carolina and Rhode Island have introduced similar bills, Washington state is considering one and Maryland introduced a bill imposing liability on anyone who causes a spill.

The governor noted the anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, warning that a similar catastrophe could happen anywhere.

“These are not theoretical, abstract potentials,” he said on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, one of the state’s most popular summer family resorts. “They happen, and they happen with an alarming frequency.”

President Donald Trump’s administration has moved to potentially open federal waters in the Atlantic, which run from three to 200 miles out, to oil and gas exploration.

Nonprofit environmental organizations immediately put out news statements applauding the action.

“The last thing we need is a Deepwater Horizon-type disaster off the Jersey coast,” said Janet Tauro, Clean Water Action NJ board chairwoman.

The Jersey Shore tourism industry supports more than 838,000 jobs and contributes an estimated $38 billion to the state economy, “including vibrant commercial and recreational fishing industries,” said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

“We cannot allow President Trump’s anti-environmental and pro-polluter agenda to hijack our economy or our environment,” Potosnak said.

The primary sponsors of the Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection (STOP) from Offshore Oil and Gas Act (S-258/A-839) included Assemblymen Bruce Land and Bob Andrzejczak, both D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic; Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic; and Van Drew.

Co-sponsors included state Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, and Assemblyman John Armato, D-Atlantic, along with most of the rest of the coastal representatives of both parties.

“Opening up offshore areas to oil and gas drilling ... poses a substantial threat to both the ecologically delicate areas along the coast and also to the tourism industry on which our local and statewide economy depends,” Van Drew said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact: 609-272-7219 MPost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost Facebook.com/EnvironmentSouthJersey

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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