U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. have sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with Senator Robert Menendez in opposition to proposed oil and gas geophysical survey activity, including seismic testing, in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to NOAA, the scale of the proposed surveys is unprecedented in U.S. waters.
NOAA will be reviewing applications from four companies for seismic testing of oil and gas resources in the Atlantic Ocean from Delaware to Florida. The applications are for Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHA), which would allow for the companies to, according to Senator Menendez and Congressman Pallone, injure and harass marine mammals with the use of seismic airgun testing.
In their letter, the lawmakers wrote: “This type of seismic airgun testing poses a serious threat to fish populations, profitable fisheries and marine life…It should also be noted that offshore oil and gas drilling, as this survey intends to study, would put New Jersey’s economy and shore communities at significant risk. At a time when New Jerseyans are still working to rebuild their lives after Sandy, the last thing we need is the prospect of a manmade disaster from an oil spill.”
Menendez and Pallone stressed their worry on the application from Spectrum Geo:
“We are particularly concerned with the application by Spectrum Geo, which has requested permission for “Level A Harassment,” defined as the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild,” said the letter to Administrator Sullivan.