New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday prohibiting offshore oil and natural gas exploration and drilling in state waters.
Murphy's swiftness in moving to protect New Jersey's shores from oil exploration is the result of plans by the Trump administration to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific.
Last Spring, President Donald Trump signed an executive order stating that the administration would pursue "energy exploration and production, including on the Outer Continental Shelf, in order to maintain the nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy security and resilience for the benefit of the American people."
Several states with waters in the Outer Continental Shelf have either considered or started to create bills preventing offshore drilling, including California, South Carolina, New York, Washington, and Rhode Island. But New Jersey's bill remains one of the most stringent, effectively banning its own state Department of Environmental Protection from "issuing any permits and approvals for the development of any facility, or related infrastructure, associated with offshore drilling in State waters or outside State waters."
Any bill to prevent offshore drilling is limited in its power to prevent Trump's plan to expand oil exploration. Though New Jersey has a 130-mile coastline, the state can only control the waters three miles past the shore. The rest of the Continental Shelf belongs to the federal government.