TRENTON, NJ (CBSNewYork / AP) – The U.S. House is poised to vote on a resumption of offshore drilling and environmentalists in New Jersey are watching.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney With The Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel

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Those for lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling say increasing oil supplies will help lower gas prices, but environmentalists like the Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel says it’s not worth threatening beaches, like along the Jersey Shore.

“New Jersey has a $40 billion a year coastal tourism industry. It relies on clean water and clean beaches,” Tittel told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “If we have a major spill off our coast, it would be catastrophic for our fisheries and our tourist industry and our beaches as well as the environment.”

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But supporters counter that they want to cut our dependence on foreign oil.

Tittel says, “If we allow drilling off our coast, there is no guarantee that the oil will ever come here and  will even lower prices, because it’s a world commodity and it’s a world price. In fact, people don’t realize that 10 percent of the oil that’s refined in New Jersey gets shipped to the Middle East.”

Some analysts expect oil prices to continue gaining due to renewed strength in stock markets, continued strong Chinese demand and OPEC output restraint. Ritterbusch and Associates said dramatic oil price swings are likely to continue this month, pegging it at a low of $92 and fresh high above $115 a barrel.

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