New Jersey's delegation in Washington, DC, is joining forces in asking the Obama Administration to "kill the drill."

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
(Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

The #KillTheDrill campaign refers to the Department of the Interior's newly-released Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program for 2017-2022 (DPP), which would allow for oil and gas drilling exploration in parts of the Mid- and South Atlantic Ocean.  US Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) and Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ06) sent a letter to President Obama on Friday, asking him to remove the Atlantic shoreline from the plan, which Senator Menendez says just poses too big a risk.

"We've heard the same claims from oil companies for years - that offshore drilling is safe, that the risk of spills is minimal, that we should trust Big Oil to be more concerned with safety than with profit margins," Menendez said.  "They said it before the Deepwater Horizon spill, and even more amazing, they have the nerve to pretend that it's true today.  But we know better."

The DPP would allow for drilling exploration off the coasts of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, but Congressman Pallone says that doesn't mean New Jersey's shores are safe.

"There's this notion, somehow, on the part of - not people from New Jersey, but people from outside New Jersey, perhaps - that when the Department of the Interior announces that they're including areas in the south Atlantic off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in this new draft offshore drilling plan, that somehow they're sparing New Jersey," Pallone said.  "But that's simply not true."

Senator Booker explained just why New Jerseyans still need to be worried.

"We have a coast that you can't separate with lines, and to have Maryland, or Virginia, or Georgia, or North Carolina's coast opened up - there's no way to separate that territory from New Jersey," Booker said.  "We live in one ecosystem."

Menendez says the effects of an oil spill could be devastating to a region that's still trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

"These are people who are struggling to rebuild their homes and put their lives back together following one of the worst disasters in our history," Menendez said.  "The last thing these people need is the threat of a man-made disaster from an oil spill on top of a natural disaster."

The DPP is up for public comment until March 30, 2015, and Pallone says your input can really make a difference.  State leaders were able to get the the Atlantic Coast removed from the last drilling plan, and Pallone says it can happen again.

"I just want everyone to know, this is something that can be accomplished," Pallone said.  "We've removed it before and we can, in my opinion, remove it again."

You can let the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management know what you think online or by mail by writing to:

Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Five-Year Program Manager, BOEM (HM-3120)
381 Elden Street
Herndon, Virginia  20170

Be sure to include the reference number "BOEM-2014-0096" in any written correspondence.