Article from The Sandpaper published November 7, 2018:
Long Beach Township is among the six New Jersey municipalities recognized as a “Champion of the Coast” by the American Littoral Society. The organization has lauded these communities for their efforts to support regional ocean planning, oppose new offshore oil and gas drilling, and ban intentional balloon releases that pollute beaches and waters.
Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, Berkeley Township, Lavallette and Point Pleasant Beach join the township on the list of towns acknowledged by the coastal conservation nonprofit.
The society developed the Champions of the Coast initiative early this year, and is seeing rapid growth in participation from communities seeking to ensure a clean and healthy ocean and coastline into the future. The organization emphasizes that local leadership is imperative to maintaining the health of the environment and economy.
“For over a year, we have been reaching out to coastal communities, engaging our New Jersey leaders about coastal conservation actions, and encouraging them to raise their voices on pressing issues of regional importance,” said Helen Henderson, ocean program manager for the society. “This initiative shows that real people, towns, and communities have the power to leave a positive, lasting legacy on the health of our coast and ocean. We are recognizing their leadership and contributions.”
As the society noted, “Long Beach Township has a history of working to make our oceans, beaches and bay pristine, and recently initiated a ban on single use plastic carry out bags.”
“Planning for a healthy ocean and coast begins here at home with reducing plastic pollution, opposing oil and gas drilling and curbing fertilizer run-off,” township Mayor Mancini stated. “It is our pleasure to partner with groups like the American Littoral Society.”
The Champions of the Coast initiative was launched shortly after the federal Department of the Interior released a draft proposed plan for new offshore oil and gas leases. The Littoral Society considers the proposal, which recommends opening 90 percent of U.S. offshore waters for oil and gas exploration and drilling, in direct opposition to what smart ocean planning should lead to: protecting ocean habitats and ensuring sustainable ocean uses.
“So many local and state leaders knew that fossil fuel exploration and extraction placed the entire U.S. coastline – and the multi-billion-dollar coastal economies they support, such as recreation, tourism and fishing – at risk,” said Henderson. “We need governments in New Jersey and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region to make responsible decisions about the use and protection of our ocean and coasts, knowing that their decisions will impact coastal resiliency, ocean health, and the livelihoods of coastal communities for decades to come.” —J.K.-H.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN LITTORAL SOCIETY