Today, Wednesday, May 09, 2012, at a hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) questioned the Department of Interior's Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Tommy Beaudreau about the Administration's decision to allow new seismic testing for oil exploration off the Atlantic coast.
Congressman Pallone voiced his opposition to the Administration's decision to begin seismic testing, a first step toward a plan to drill off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean for oil. The Department of Interior announced in March that it would begin the process.
"I am totally opposed to offshore drilling off the Atlantic Coast. My opposition includes any preparatory steps including seismic testing in our waters off the Atlantic Coast," Congressman Pallone said in his opening statement. "The time and resources that the Department of Interior is allocating to seismic testing could be better used on higher priorities that will allow us to move away from dirty fuels and faster achieve U.S. energy independence through renewable sources such as wind and solar power."
Citing the importance and environmental sensitivity of New Jersey's coastline, which generates $38 billion per year in economic activity and supports nearly 500,000 jobs, Pallone urged the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to consider renewable alternatives and to head the lessons leaned from Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Additionally, Pallone asked Beaudreau for more information about the cost of seismic testing and urged the Bureau to allow more time for a public review comment period to let New Jersey residents have their opinions considered as the process moves forward.
"The Department of Interior must halt this process and reconsider its priorities in ensuring American energy independence," said Pallone. "Recently, the Department of Interior held a public listening session in Atlantic City, NJ on the process leading to seismic testing. Local environmental organizations, fishermen, divers and people from all backgrounds were there to oppose this decision; I call on the Department to earnestly listen to their concerns and opposition."