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The Asbury Park Press

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Although a native of New Jersey with a family that goes back into the 1700s and very conscious of the changes wrought by suburbanization of the woodlands and shore of the state and other ecological changes, I would not join the anti-drilling hand holding proposed as a protest against off-shore drilling, which as far as I know, is not on anyone’s radar for New Jersey.

Yet, oil and natural gas exploration should be part of a New Jersey energy industry. We have both fuels off shore. Texaco was exploring sites off AC (far off) in the late 70s and then Congress banned continental drilling.

New Jersey is in a debt crises with its state budget, and most the state and the local governments could use the taxes from energy production. We have the highest real estate taxes and could use relief from them. New Jersey now has 10 percent unemployment and 10 percent loss of retail businesses, a desperate economic situation that could be ameliorated by energy development.

Unlike most states, New Jersey has refining capacity, pipelines, and natural gas storage. We also have the most cars per capita of any state and could use the gasoline produced here for ourselves, and sell the other states. As the densest populated state, we could also use the energy needed to heat and cool houses and businesses generated right here.

The spill in the Gulf is an anomaly perpetuated by forcing oil companies to drill at depths not amenable to errors of any kind, a permitting process that was rubber stamped by the federal government that now proposes to be the guarantor against any future accidents (not possible); an EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and Coast Guard totally unprepared for such an emergency (they had plans, like deploying fire booms, but had never bought the fire booms), and a White House administration more interested in political points than economics or energy.

I do not support denying New Jerseyans access to offshore energy sources or pretending that we are ever going to have enough wind power or solar power to drive cars, power factories, or provide comfortable homes environments. US energy needs use 98 percent fossil fuel sources. Bio, geo, hydro, solar, and wind energy sources now provide merely 2 percent (and all subsidized) of our needs and to think they will ever even reach 50 percent in what is left of my life is pipe dreaming.

For those that complacently enjoy the neon lights at Seaside or Wildwood and motor to the beach or “The Shore” as they please, those activities are provided for by the dirty stuff that is pouring out of the BP leak. You may not like reality, but you do not live in a Disney world of cartoon stuff. New Jersey needs to “get real” and drill off shore (more shallow drilling will be much less of a danger than deep-well production), provide real jobs, real commodities, real taxes and tax relief, and real life.

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