MAYOR BOLLWAGE OPPOSES OFFSHORE DRILLING Cites potential harm to waterfront communities

Contact: Kelly Vence
Public Information Office
MAYOR BOLLWAGE OPPOSES OFFSHORE DRILLING Cites potential harm to waterfront communities
ELIZABETH, NJ - February 4, 2015 - With the recent announcement by the White House that offshore drilling along a portion of the Atlantic coast would be possible, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage has expressed concerns with the decision; reiterating the need to protect waterfront municipalities from potential repercussions. 
“Offshore drilling disrupts the composition of our natural resources, releases pollutants and poses serious hazards in the event of a spill incident. It is not an act that only impacts the immediate area; the effects are carried through the waterways, placing our waterfronts and communities at risk,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “From measures to prevent future flooding and storm damage at our waterfront to passing an ordinance banning fracking waste, the City of Elizabeth continues to incorporate safeguards to protect its residents, property and environment - it should not have to suffer the lasting consequences of offshore drilling in exchange for national economic gain.”
The City of Elizabeth is an economic destination and transportation hub, which includes a Marina as well as access to the Arthur Kill. In addition, the municipality is also known for the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal, which is a major international seaport on the East Coast. Large, diversified ships and their extensive cargo from throughout the country and world pass through the City utilizing these shared waterways. 
When Hurricane Sandy hit, it brought destruction and loss that many still struggle with today. Within the City of Elizabeth, efforts are ongoing to reconstruct damage at the waterfront caused in great part by the storm surge.  Restoration work is comprised of rebuilding the boardwalk, recreation pier, floating docks as well as irrigation. Mitigation initiatives are also being incorporated to increase preparedness and prevent similar damage in the event of another storm including: vinyl sheet piling to protect the steel bulkhead at Veterans Memorial Park; concrete ballast to keep the boardwalk from lifting; hurricane straps to brace structures from future storm surges and taller steel piles at the Marina to protect new floating docks.  
In addition to concerns associated with pollution, the power and force associated with oil drilling interrupts and upsets the ecological balance and marine life. The proposal released would include the area from Virginia to Georgia, where waterways are shared with New Jersey. 
From Environmental and Estuary Day to Earth Day, the City of Elizabeth supports environmental protection, conservation and awareness-raising through the year. Working closely with organizations such as Future City Inc., these events highlight the importance and fragility of the extensive work conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers with respect to the Arthur Kill. These programs emphasize the importance of estuary sustainment, clean water and maintaining a strong green foundation. 
“When it comes to the environment, climate change and the weather, there are so many elements that are beyond our control,” said First Ward Councilman Carlos Torres. “Choosing to introduce the offshore drilling factor into an equation with so many unknowns can have potentially dangerous outcomes.”