NJ Politics Digest: Federal Officials Throttle Comment on Offshore Drilling Plan

Offshore drilling. David McNew/Getty Images

The plan to open large portions of the United States’ coast to oil and gas drilling has riled environmental activists and beach-lovers along both coasts, but Trump administration officials apparently don’t want to face the negative comments, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management isn’t allowing public comment sessions at meetings on the proposal, instead restricting comment to one-on-one meetings or allowing people to type in online comments. No chance of large, loud meetings to demonstrate opposition to the plan. Environmentalists, however, are holding their own, boisterous, unsanctioned meetings before the official ones begin, the AP reports.

It’s unclear why the administration isn’t making efforts to correct the bad optics of the situation.

In the report, federal officials talk about the need for the United States to achieve energy independence but offer no explanation for throttling public debate on offshore drilling. The closest thing is Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s chief environmental officer, William Brown’s observation that “the people who are going to read your story are mostly using cars.”

Quote of the Day: “They’re dodging democracy. The government works for the people. I understand it’s uncomfortable to have a bad idea and be held accountable for it, but that’s what they’re proposing,” — Cindy Zipf, executive director of New Jersey’s Clean Ocean Action environmental group, on the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s refusal to allow attendees to speak at meetings on proposals to open most of the nation’s coast to oil and gas drilling.

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NJ Politics Digest: Federal Officials Throttle Comment on Offshore Drilling Plan