ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some political heavyweights in New Jersey are calling on President Barack Obama to keep offshore oil drilling away from the Atlantic coastline.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Rep. Frank Pallone and others held a news conference in Asbury Park on Wednesday to express their fears about allowing drilling in the federal government’s next five-year energy plan, which begins in 2017.

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Their chief concern: the effect an oil spill might have on New Jersey.

“We have a duty to keep our coastal economy and ecosystem safe,” said Menendez, D-N.J.

“More drilling doesn’t include gas prices,” Pallone, D-West Long Branch, added. “It’s on the world market.”

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Mendendez said Virginia’s senators want drilling, but, “I don’t support that drilling because even though it’s their state, the spill there will make it to New Jersey.”

Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter, said drilling doesn’t make sense because the state’s coast can generate “all future electricity” for New Jersey from wind.

“The only oil we ever want to see on a beach in New Jersey is suntan oil,” Tittel said.

It will be months before any decisions are made.

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