Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued the following statement in response to the Record of Decision issued today by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). BOEM's decision will allow for further environmental review of geological and geophysical (G&G) survey activities off the Mid- and South Atlantic coast and may lead to permits for seismic surveying in the Atlantic being issued.
"I am disappointed in the decision issued by BOEM today to finalize this current environmental review process and to indicate that they may allow seismic testing in the Atlantic. I fundamentally disagree with their conclusions and believe that any efforts to pursue offshore oil and gas development in the Atlantic pose great dangers for New Jersey and citizens all along the East Coast.
"Seismic testing in the Atlantic is a first major step towards offshore oil drilling, to which I am absolutely opposed. The inevitable environmental costs of expanding oil and gas exploration into the Atlantic Ocean are great. With New Jersey's coastal economy still reeling from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, our fishing and tourism industries need to be protected from further challenges to their economic and environmental well-being.
"I believe that BOEM should commit to not issuing any permits for seismic testing in the Atlantic. Yet, while BOEM has issued this decision for the Mid- and South Atlantic broadly, there are local issues that still must be taken into account. BOEM should consider these more localized concerns not covered in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), and it should not, under any circumstances, move to issue permits for offshore drilling in the Atlantic. We have to put a stop to this approach before we experience a Deepwater Horizon-like disaster in the Atlantic Ocean. We cannot put our ocean environment, beaches, marine resources, and coastal economies at risk."