Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trump advances oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic coast

National Fisheries Service proposing permits for seismic surveys off coast; ‘greens’ say surveys first step to full-throttle drilling

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

The Trump administration yesterday opened a path to drill for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast, a step conservationists thought they had blocked last year.
In a notice to be published today, the National Fisheries Service is proposing five permits to allow companies to conduct seismic surveys with air guns, a technology used to explore for oil and gas.
The use of the air guns, devices that set off blasts as loud as dynamite to survey coastal sediments, has long been opposed by environmental groups who argue it can deafen and harm whales and marine wildlife.
The action by the administration follows an executive order earlier this spring by President Donald Trump, reversing a decision by the Obama administration to block drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
“This is the gateway to drilling,’’ said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, referring to the move to allow seismic surveys with the air guns. “It sets the stage for oil and gas drilling.’’
Michael Jasny, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council, agreed. “It’s a license for energy companies — in their relentless drive for more fossil fuels — to devastate marine wildlife. Scientists warn that seismic activity alone could drive the endangered North Atlantic right whale to extinction,’’ he said.
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