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Federal Leaders Voice Opposition to Seismic Testing in the Atlantic Ocean

January 31 2013 | Ocean Ecosystems, Ocean Energy,
by Pete Stauffer

Jan 30 – Eight Senators and twenty-seven House members sent letters to President Obama today asking him to cancel plans for seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean. Seismic airgun testing would bring the Atlantic coast closer to the risky practice of offshore oil drilling, the same practice that led to the disastrous Deepwater Horizon Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico three years ago.

Last March, the Department of the Interior announced its decision to begin seismic testing off the coast of the Mid and South Atlantic to assess potential oil and gas resources. The Administration’s Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program involves seismic airgun testing from Delaware to Florida.

The proposed surveys would employ loud and damaging technologies, causing major impacts to marine wildlife and the ecosystem. According to the Department’s own estimates, seismic exploration would injure upwards of 130,000 whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals over the next eight years. The surveys would also impact millions of other individuals through disrupting mating, feeding, communication, and migration activities. Finally, seismic activities would displace and cause impacts to a wide variety of fish and invertebrate populations.

Furthermore, offshore drilling is inherently polluting and dangerous, and it will not solve our nation’s energy needs. According to the Department of Energy, fully developing all of our recoverable offshore oil reserves would lower pump prices by only 3 cents. Such a tradeoff is not worth the risk to our coastal economies, including tourism, recreation, and commerical fishing, which generate billions of dollars in annual revenue on the Atlantic coast.

The Department of Interior is scheduled to make its final decision in the fall of 2013. Please sign the petition to oppose seismic testing in the Atlantic! 

Senators voicing their opposition included Frank Lautenberg (D), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Patrick Leahy (NY), Robert Menendez (NJ), Benjamin Cardin (MD), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Barbara Boxer (CA), Maria Cantwell (WA).

House members opposing included Frank Pallone (NJ), Jim Moran (VA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Rush Holt (NJ), Louise Slaughter (NY), Alcee Hastings (FL), Charles Rangle (NY), Corrine Brown (FL), Lacy Clay (MI), William Keating (MA), Sam Farr (CA), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Michael Capuano (MA), Paul Tonko (NY), Maxine Waters (CA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Joe Courtney (CT), Mike Honda (CA), Bill Pascrell (NJ), John Tierney (MA), Chellie Pingree (ME), David Price (NC), Jame McGovern (MA), Kathy Castor (FL), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Chaka Fattah (PA), and Albio Sires (NJ).

To read DOI’s official announcement click here

To read Surfrider Foundation’s comment letter click here

To sign the petition to the Secretary of the Interior click here

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