The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources recently held a hearing on the delays and lack of transparency surrounding the federal permitting process for seismic surveying in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). This surveying is critical to guide decisions about offshore energy exploration. Following the hearing, the Committee released the following important information:
- Since the Department of the Interior first initiated the regulatory process in 2009 to allow seismic surveying in the Atlantic OCS, not a single permit has been granted by the federal government.
- Despite radical environmentalists’ claims that seismic surveying harms marine mammal life, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) own Chief Environmental Officer has found that “there has been no documented scientific evidence” of seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities.
- Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) questioned BOEM Director Abigail Hopper on the safety record of seismic in the Gulf, where seismic leasing is currently active.
Fleming: Ms. Hopper, how long has seismic testing been in use the Gulf of Mexico?
Hopper: I would say at least 50 years, sir.
Fleming: Have there been any documented cases of harm to marine life during that time?
Hopper: Not to my knowledge, sir.