The U.S. Interior Department continues the to process permit forms for firms to conduct seismic testing within the Atlantic – a precursor to drilling – regardless of shelving its plan to broaden offshore drilling vastly, a spokesperson stated on Monday.
Atlantic coastal state lawmakers, companies and conservation teams are adamant that Interior shouldn’t enable seismic testing – a course of that usually makes use of highly capable air weapons to map resources beneath the ocean surface – arguing the surveys harm marine life, akin to endangered North Atlantic whale.
Newly elected Interior Secretary David Bernhardt stated last week the company’s five-year plan for oil and gasoline drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) can be ignored indefinitely after a March courtroom ruling blocked drilling in the Arctic and some parts the Atlantic Ocean.
However, Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is in charge of managing energy development on the OCS, continues to evaluate the forms of a half-dozen seismic testing firms awaiting permits to check for oil and gasoline drilling potential on the Atlantic Ocean surface.
“BOEM is proceeding to process the permit forms for conducting seismic surveys within the Atlantic, per relevant legislation,” BOEM spokeswoman Tracey Moriarty mentioned in an emailed assertion on Monday.
Five firms obtained the first round of permits last year when the fisheries workplace of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued permits that will allow for the incidental annoyance of marine mammals with air weapon blasts in an area of the Atlantic from Delaware to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Obama administration banned seismic testing permits there in 2016 after it eliminated the Atlantic coasts from drilling in its five-year OCS proposal.
Gail Adams-Jackson, a spokesperson for the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, a commerce group representing seismic testing corporations, stated its members “remain hopeful” that BOEM will give out seismic testing permits in no time-even if it stays unclear whether or not the Trump administration will pursue its plans to expand offshore drilling within the Atlantic.