Rutherford Leads Bipartisan Letter Opposing Seismic Testing in the Atlantic
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Rutherford led a bipartisan letter signed by 93 members of Congress to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging that they not allow seismic testing in the Atlantic to move forward. The letter is in response to the administration’s announcement last week to issue five Incidental Harassment Authorizations, or IHAs, which advance permit applications for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic. This is a major step toward opening areas of the Atlantic off the coast of Florida to energy exploration.
Following the release of today’s letter, Congressman Rutherford said:
“I was disappointed to see NOAA Fisheries advance efforts to conduct seismic testing off our Atlantic Coast – the first step to offshore drilling. I am very concerned about the effects seismic testing would have on vulnerable marine mammal populations and other marine life, but I also have many questions about how this will impact naval operations and training missions that operate off the East Coast. We have very little information on what this would mean for our national security, the health of our recovering fisheries, or our coastal economies. Not to mention that any data collected about oil and gas reserves off our coast would be proprietary, meaning neither the public nor government officials would have access to this information. I am encouraged by today’s strong showing of bipartisan opposition to opening the Atlantic to seismic testing.”
Last year, President Trump signed his executive order, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” that instructs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to reevaluate opening the Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas to oil and gas exploration and drilling, including the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. To view the letter in its entirety, please click here.