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Pallone Demands Answers on Dangerous Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration

February 25, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) demanded answers from the U.S. Department of Interior regarding its plans to allow harmful seismic airgun blasting off the Atlantic Coast. In a letter sent to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Acting Director Walter Cruickshank, Pallone requested information on its plans to issue geological and geophysical permits to allow the dangerous and disruptive activity. Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01) and Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) also signed the letter.

“We write to express our concern with plans to explore for offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean with harmful seismic airgun blasting,” the bipartisan letter states. “Creating one of the loudest manmade sounds in the ocean, noise from seismic airguns can disturb, injure, and even kill animals across the entire marine ecosystem. Exposing our abundant and lucrative ocean resources to dangerous blasting is simply not worth the risk. Proposed oil exploration activities threaten Atlantic marine resources that support over 1.5 million jobs and generate nearly $108 billion in GDP each year, mainly through tourism, fishing, and recreation.”

Offshore oil and gas exploration threaten the vitality of coastal communities up and down the Atlantic Coast. In New Jersey, the tourism industry generates over $44 billion a year and supports over half a million jobs. The Jersey Shore is home to over $700 billion in coastal properties, and the tourism industry generates almost half a million jobs - nearly ten percent of the state’s entire workforce. New Jersey’s commercial fishing industry generates over $8 billion annually supporting over 50,000 jobs and has one of the largest saltwater recreational fishing industries in the United States.

Pallone has served as a longtime champion of offshore drilling bans to protect coastal communities from the harmful effects of oil and gas exploration. In January 2019, he introduced the COAST Anti-Drilling Act that would ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Last April, he wrote to Secretary David Bernhardt at the Department of Interior to ask him to permanently abandon plans to conduct offshore oil and gas exploration. In July, he successfully achieved the passage of an amendment that bans the use of taxpayer money to fund offshore gas and oil drilling

A copy of the letter is available here.