Congressman Frank Pallone, the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 6th congressional district, is opposing the U.S. Government’s plans to carry out seismic survey in the Atlantic Ocean.
He last week sent a letter to Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, expressing his concern that the results of new proposed seismic testing off the coast of New Jersey could potentially be used to open up the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas exploration.
He requested that the agency grant a 60-day extension of public comment and hold a public hearing to sufficiently review the application submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to conduct marine seismic surveys off the coast of New Jersey. NMFS has proposed granting permission for the tests that would potentially be conducted this summer.
Congressman Pallone, an outspoken critic of seismic testing and offshore drilling off the Atlantic Coast due to its potential threat to New Jersey’s shoreline, stated that an extension of the public comment period was absolutely necessary so that residents have sufficient time to voice their concerns regarding the testing. Pallone also stressed the need for additional time in order to evaluate the application and determine what implications the seismic surveying may have for the New Jersey coast.
“An environmentally sound coast is critical to New Jersey’s economy, and I remain concerned with any activity that could lead to oil and gas drilling off our coast,” said Congressman Pallone. “Any proposal to conduct seismic surveying in the Atlantic Ocean must be reviewed with the utmost care and diligence. Otherwise, we risk injuring and disturbing critically endangered species and threatening the Jersey shore, a center of recreational and economic use.”
In his letter he said: “I am writing to express my opposition to seismic surveying in the Atlantic Ocean and to highlight my concerns with a proposal to perform seismic surveying off the coast of New Jersey currently being reviewed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Seismic surveying can injure or kill fish and marine mammals and puts at risk endangered species, such as the North Atlantic right whale. I am also concerned that the seismic surveying results could be used in the pursuit of opening up areas off New Jersey’s coast for oil and gas exploration—an area President Obama has clearly designated as off-limits.”
Pallone added:”I request that NOAA grant a 60-day extension of public comment and hold a public hearing to review the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) proposed Incidental Harassment Authorization for takes of marine mammals incidental to marine seismic surveys off the coast of New Jersey. An extension of the comment period and a public hearing are absolutely necessary so that the public can evaluate the application, the draft Environmental Assessment (EA), the purpose and goals of the seismic survey and any implications the seismic surveying may have for New Jersey and its coastal area.”