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Pallone Blasts Trump Proposal to Issue Permits Allowing Seismic Testing in the Atlantic

June 8, 2017
Press Release

Washington D.C.- Today Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) blasted the Trump administration and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) proposal to issue five Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) permits that are essential in allowing the oil and gas industry to conduct seismic tests in the Atlantic. In order to receive a seismic testing permit from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an applicant must also receive a separate IHA permit from NMFS.

“Following a catastrophic week for the United States and its role as a leader in combatting climate change, it is clear that the Trump administration is continuing its relentless assault on our environment and New Jersey’s coast,” said Pallone. “Seismic testing risks injuring and killing critically endangered species, severely disrupting economically important fisheries, and threatening the Jersey shore. 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. Ironically, this announcement comes at the beginning of World Ocean Week, and days after President Trump declared June 2017 as ‘National Ocean Month’. Allowing these IHA permits to be issued is not the way to celebrate or protect our oceans. No seismic testing should be allowed in the Atlantic; New Jersey communities don’t want it, and the Atlantic should not be subjected to this risk.”

In May it was reported that the Trump administration was considering authorizing seismic testing in the Atlantic. Also last month, Congressman Pallone and a bipartisan group of the New Jersey Congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke opposing President Trump's plans for offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean

In January 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.  This 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.

Last October, Pallone led a letter from members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), applauding the agency’s Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap, which proposed numerous measures to reduce ocean noise, and urging NOAA to take immediate steps to implement the plan, specifically by denying seismic testing permits in the Atlantic

In 2015, Congressman Pallone led a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) raising serious concerns over proposed seismic testing off the coast of New Jersey. The members demanded comprehensive environmental assessments of the proposed seismic testing permits and the impact this testing could have on wildlife in the Atlantic Ocean.

Pallone also asked National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries for a public hearing on proposed seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean that could potentially be used to open the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas exploration.