President Trump has instructed the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to pursue permits that would allow oil companies to use air gun arrays along the East Coast to probe for oil and gas. NOAA is accepting comments on this policy change right now.
The oil companies seeking these permits require NOAA’s approval because this kind of seismic activity is known to disturb marine life. What’s more, under the Executive Order issued by President Trump in April, seismic probing would span the whole Eastern seaboard from Florida to Delaware including the waters that border and feed into our own Chesapeake Bay.
This represents the first step toward opening Atlantic Coast federal waters to offshore drilling. It also represents a grave threat to our environment and to the families whose lives and livelihoods rely on a healthy Bay.
Let’s be clear: this move toward drilling off our coast has nothing to do with a greater need for oil. America is already the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Period. Further, oil companies already have 24 million acres of offshore public land at their disposal.
Instead, this move toward Atlantic coast drilling puts every community along the Chesapeake Bay at risk. Seismic probing for oil threatens to disturb critical wildlife, and with it, the livelihoods of farmers and fishermen, along with all those working in the tourism and seafood industries. Remember: the Deepwater Horizon disaster utterly decimated more than 1,100 miles of coastline and did so without respect for federal versus state boundaries. The risk for another incident of this nature simply outweighs any potential benefits associated with more drilling.
If you agree that seismic probing for oil and drilling off Maryland’s coast is dangerous and unnecessary, the answer is simple: leave a comment with NOAA.
– From Ben Cardin, U.S. Senator