Congressman John Rutherford, along with Congressman Don Beyer, led a bipartisan letter from more than 100 members of Congress to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke voicing concerns with a proposal to issue seismic testing permits for the Atlantic Ocean.
In April, the Trump Administration announced that it is reevaluating opening the Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas to oil and gas exploration and drilling, including off of the Atlantic Coast.
Seismic testing, which is the prerequisite to opening the Atlantic to offshore drilling, poses a direct threat to the costal economies dependent on healthy ocean ecosystems for fishing, tourism, recreation, and the numerous businesses that rely on these industries.
Congressman Rutherford said, “Traveling through my district I have heard from countless business owners and residents along the North Florida coasts who are concerned about the risks of seismic testing to our healthy ocean fisheries. While future offshore drilling activities in the Atlantic would put our communities at risk down the road, seismic testing threatens our fragile coastal economies today. Our coastal economy should not be put at undue risk at a time when our booming oil and gas production is more than enough to meet our current energy needs.”
“Reps. Rutherford and Beyer should be applauded for their leadership in working to protect the Atlantic from loud and dangerous seismic airgun blasting,” said Nancy Pyne, campaign director at Oceana.
“Seismic airguns create one of the loudest manmade noises in the ocean and are of special concern to marine life that depe nd on sound for communication and survival. Currently, 126 East Coast municipalities, more than 1,200 local, state and federal officials, and an alliance representing over 41,000 businesses and 500,200 fishing families from Florida to Maine, publicly oppose seismic airgun blasting and/or offshore drilling. The risk to marine life, coastal communities and economies is just too great,” she added.