Smith Opposes Administration’s Approval of Seismic Testing in the Atlantic
“I am unalterably opposed to oil and gas drilling and exploration off New Jersey’s coastline, the first step of which is seismic airgun blasting,” Rep. Smith said today in response to the Administration’s announcement that it would approve requests for seismic airgun blasting off the Atlantic Coast.
“Not here, not now, not ever,” said Smith who is working with a multi-state bipartisan group of Members to halt oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic Coast. Smith has signed on to a letter—with 93 signers—currently being circulated by Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), to ask the Department of the Interior to deny final permits for companies to conduct seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic. (Click here to read the letter)
“Offshore drilling and exploration poses numerous risks to marine life and, by extension, our fishing industries and the health of our coastal ecosystems,” Smith said. “Seismic airgun blasting in particular can deafen or seriously maim local marine wildlife which rely upon sonar power for movement and can significantly affect local fish populations, which in turn harms our NJ fishing industries.”
“Our bipartisan, multi-state group, which is petitioning the Interior Department to prohibit geological and geophysical exploration in the Atlantic as a prelude to oil and gas drilling, is working together to protect our marine ecosystems, fishing industries, and coastal communities,” Smith said. “We recognize the opposition from businesses, state and local officials, and residents from all along the East Coast to offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling in the Atlantic.”
Numerous studies show that seismic airgun blasting—firing blasts of compressed air on the ocean floor 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine to discover potential oil and gas reserves—could pose serious harm to marine life in the area and fish populations. Fishing industries, and the local coastal economies which rely upon them, could also suffer from this disruption.
Rep. Smith, dean of the New Jersey congressional delegation, has led the fight against opening up New Jersey’s coastal waters to offshore drilling:
· He led an NJ delegation letter to Secretary Zinke making clear the opposition to the Administration’s proposal to open up over 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf to drilling and exploration.
· He is a cosponsor of HR 728, a bill to prohibit issuance of leases for oil and gas drilling and exploration within 125 miles of the New Jersey coast
· He is a cosponsor of HR 2158, the Atlantic Seismic Airgun Protection Act, to prohibit oil and gas exploration and development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf
On April 20, Smith joined Governor Murphy when he signed NJ’s STOP Offshore Oil and Gas Act in Point Pleasant Beach, in the Fourth District.
“Secretary Zinke has told the NJ delegation that the Administration probably would not be opening exploration off the coast of NJ—a step in the right direction,” Smith said. “But I remain concerned about—and opposed to—opening any waters off the East Coast for exploration, including seismic airgun blasting. Not here, not ever.”