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Pallone Blasts Trump Approval of Seismic Testing in Atlantic

November 30, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) blasted the Trump administration’s approval of five Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) permits for companies planning to conduct seismic geological and geophysical surveys along the Atlantic coast. The permits authorize five companies to use seismic airguns that can disturb, harm, and potentially kill not only marine mammals but also a wide range of marine life that support coastal economies from Florida to Maine. The soundwaves produced by these blasts are reflected back to the surface, and measured to determine whether oil, gas, or other minerals are present under the ocean.  This can disrupt migratory patterns, cause marine wildlife to abandon important habitats, disrupt mating and feeding, destroy fish eggs and larvae, and cause deafness in whales and dolphins rendering them unable to communicate and reproduce.  Seismic testing poses a direct threat to important marine life populations and opens the door for the expansion of off-shore drilling in the Atlantic and along New Jersey’s coast.

“Seismic testing risks injuring and killing critically endangered species, severely disrupting economically important fisheries, and threatening the Jersey shore,” said Pallone.  “An environmentally sound coast is critical to New Jersey’s economy and it is very possible that seismic testing could lead to oil and gas drilling off our coast – threatening public health, coastal communities, and hundreds of thousands of jobs. Members from both sides of the aisle will work tirelessly to fight this reckless decision by the Trump administration.”

In June 2017, Pallone led a bipartisan letter from the entire New Jersey Congressional delegation to the National Marine Fisheries Service voicing concerns over a proposal to issue seismic testing permits for the Atlantic Ocean. Also in 2017, the Obama administration denied six pending geophysical and geological (G&G) permit applications to conduct air gun seismic surveys in the Mid- and South Atlantic Planning Areas of the Atlantic Ocean. The decision followed years of effort by Pallone to prevent seismic testing, including his successful urging of the Obama Administration to reject previous seismic testing applications.