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Pallone, LoBiondo Call on NOAA to Reject Approval Necessary for Seismic Airgun Activities in the Atlantic Ocean

March 17, 2015
Press Release

Lawmakers Call for Renewed Efforts to Stop Seismic Blasts off the Jersey Shore

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) and Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), released the following statement in response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) notice that it will review an application for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) for seismic airgun activities in the Atlantic Ocean conducted by Rutgers University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  The authorization allows for the behavioral harassment of marine mammals by sound during the seismic survey.  Last July, NOAA approved this type of authorization, which must be granted in order to begin seismic blasting off New Jersey’s coast, but the project was delayed due to mechanical issues:

“NOAA should reject the application submitted by Rutgers and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for the taking of marine mammals during a seismic survey in the Atlantic Ocean offshore of New Jersey.  The period from June through August is a critical one for marine species and approval of this harmful ocean blasting will needlessly put these species at risk. Seismic blasting in the Atlantic Ocean is extremely hazardous to marine mammals and can disrupt migration patterns and fish spawning.  With New Jersey’s coastal economy still rebounding from the effects of Superstorm Sandy, our fisheries cannot afford to take yet another hit this summer. 

“Last summer, this proposal was met with strong opposition from New Jerseyans, bipartisan lawmakers, and both commercial and recreational fishermen.  Seismic testing in the Atlantic puts our coastline at further risk, posing a serious threat to our coastal resources and the state’s economy.  The environmental and economic impacts of allowing seismic blasting will be felt up and down the Jersey Shore, and we urge NOAA to take action that will stop this project from moving forward.  We will be submitting additional comments opposing this effort as the review process continues, and we urge all other concerned New Jerseyans to do the same.”