Monday, April 18, 2011

Advocacy-From Trenton to the Beach!

This week, Clean Ocean Action advocated for the oceans in several key arenas on several important topics:

-          In Washington, DC, Clean Ocean Action sent a letter to the Congressional Delegation from New Jersey asking all Representatives and Senators from the State to vote against and work to block three bills introduced by Rep. Hastings (R-Washington) that would not only allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, but would also encourage it to begin ASAP!  Drilling in the Atlantic immediately threatens the NY/NJ Bight beaches because these bills would require oil operations to begin in Virginia within a year.  COA plans on sending a similar letter to the New York Delegation and working with NY and NJ Representatives to block these bills.
Find the Bills (as drafted) here, here, and here, and COA’s letter here

-          In Trenton, COA fought for the environment by testifying at a NJ Department of Environmental Protection public meeting on the agency’s proposed “waiver rule” – which is a rule wherein the DEP gives itself the authority to waive compliance with many environmental standards and regulations if a permit applicant meets one of four broad requirements (conflicting laws, emergencies, undue burdens, or where a net benefit will be realized).  COA testified as to the vagueness of these bills and other problems.  COA will be submitting comments in writing to this rule, so stay tuned!

-          On the beach, COA met with DEP staff to discuss 2011 beach season water quality and human health protection programs.  The DEP, with COA’s help, will be running pilot programs for “rapid-response” beach cleanliness tests (to see if it’s safe to swim), and will be collaborating with COA on a new, easy-to-access beach cleanliness advisory website where the public can access information on tests, results, and safe beach practices.  This endeavor is part of a multi-year COA campaign to improve state-wide beach monitoring programs.  Read our April Newsletter for more information!

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