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LONG BRANCH >> … “The Trump administration announced a plan on Thursday to open offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico from 2019-2024. The proposal would allow for drilling up and down the Atlantic Coast from Florida to Maine.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, a longtime Mercer County Republican whose district stretches to Ocean and Monmouth counties, joined the Democrats’ outcry over Trump’s drilling proposal.

“I am unalterably opposed to this proposal,” Smith said in a statement. “Opening the Atlantic coast to oil and gas exploration poses serious risks to the local marine wildlife, the fish populations which our commercial fishermen rely upon for their livelihood, and seriously threatens our pristine state beaches that we enjoy and rely upon for economic activity in New Jersey. We can and must assert our energy independence in ways that do not compromise our coastal waters and beaches and put other industries at risk.”

Smith, who also opposed Trump’s tax reform plan, touted that he defended the Jersey Shore in 2015 when the Obama administration proposed a similar idea that was defeated…”

Excerpted & emphasis added. Read the full article here