sb-christie-2-042210Governor Chris Christie at Surfrider Beach Club in Sea Bright Thursday, flanked by his daughter Brigit, former Gov. Tom Kean and DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. (Photo by Tim Larsen; click to enlarge)

There will be no oil rigs visible from New Jersey’s beaches, and no man-made islands or floating pipelines to transfer liquefied natural gas from ship to shore under his watch, Governor Chris Christie vowed Thursday.

At an oceanfront beach club in Sea Bright to mark the fortieth Earth Day, Christie said that while natural gas is a critical piece of the state’s energy future, “for as long as I am governor, this administration will oppose any application for liquefied natural gas,” according to the Asbury Park Press.

He added: “New Jersey is not going to be a pipeline for New York City for natural gas at the risk of ruining our shores, our beaches and our environment.”

Christie also expressed opposition to “any kind of offshore drilling.”

During his visit, Christie also signed into law a bill exempting solar panels from restrictions which had classified them as “impervious surface” under municipal land use law and waterfront and coastal development laws.

Among the dozen or so elected officials and appointees in attendance was former Governor Tom Kean — turning 75 years old yesterday — who helped create the state Department of Environmental Protection 40 years ago.

Cindy Zipf, the founder and head of Sandy Hook-based Clean Ocean Action, praised Christie’s stance on offshore oil and gas drilling, the Press reported:

“This is a great day to celebrate,” Zipf said. “This announcement is a big surprise. These two announcements — that we are not going to support offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and no liquefied gas facilities — are huge!”

Not all environmentalists were equally pleased, though. There’s this from PolitickerNJ:

Hovering in the background of the hoopla stood Sierra Club chief Jeff Tittel, still smarting over Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno’s Red Tape Group report, which in his view would weaken environmental protections.

“This is green cover,” Tittel said of the Christie-Kean spectacle. “It’s easy to have a press conference in New Jersey saying you’re against drilling in Virginia, but there’s nothing here today that would anger the Chamber of Commerce or ruffle developers. Bringing Kean here is good for Christie. It’s his way of saying he’s more like Kean than he is like Christie Whitman.”