Clean Ocean Action

Atlantic Ocean - Offshore Oil & Gas Exploration

After years of being under a Presidential and Congressional "do not drill here" list, the Atlantic Ocean is back on the table, and energy companies are looking to start drilling as soon as possible... According to the Energy Information Administration, there is only about 209 days of oil and 13 months of natural gas in the Atlantic Ocean (if we drill for every-last-drop-possible); and doing so is only expected to lower the "price at the pump" for gasoline by 3 cents - 20 years from now. In short, there isn't much value in drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean, but there is much to lose - billions of dollars in fisheries, billions more in tourism and coastal businesses, and billions in interstate and international commerce flow through the ports and beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.  Let's keep it free from oil and prevent another BP Deepwater Horizon from fouling our Clean Ocean Economy.

Latest Updates on Seismic

Earlier in the fall of 2013, the United States Department of the Interior announced it would again delay the announcement of it's Final Environmental Impact Statement until 2014! Clean Ocean Action partnered with Oceana and Sierra Club New Jersey to raise awareness about seismic exploration at Monmouth University. Here is that update: COA, Oceana Turn Up the Volume Against Seismic Testing On Monday, September 16th, Clean Ocean Action, Oceana, Sierra Club New Jersey, and the Sandy Hook Sea Life Foundation held a forum at Monmouth University to educate the public and turn up the volume about seismic air gun testing. The practice of seismic testing - or blasting air cannons in the mid-Atlantic Ocean in search of oil and gas deposits - is being proposed by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). After a number of public hearings in early Spring of 2012 - one of which in Atlantic City was attended by ocean advocates from across New Jersey - the decision on whether or not to allow seismic blasts has been postponed twice. The event hopes to keep up pressure on the federal government and increase public involvement on the issue. Congressman Pallone is a national champion on the issue. He has led the charge against seismic testing in Congress by authoring a letter to the White House urging the Department of Interior to decide against the testing. He opened the event and said that, “Seismic testing is the fi rst step to offshore drilling, and we have to put a stop to it.” Earlier this year, Congressman Pallone also stated that, “Already New Jersey’s coastal economy is reeling from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, and our fi shing and tourism industries need to be protected from further challenges to their economic and environmental well-being.” The panel was moderated by Monmouth University’s Urban Coastal Institute Director, Tony MacDonald, and included Nancy Sopko from Oceana, Jessica Coakley from the Mid Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC), and COA’s Executive Director Cindy Zipf. All three panelists described their opposition to seismic exploration and their skepticism that looking for oil in the Atlantic is necessary. COA also advocated for the Clean Ocean Zone and keeping the ocean wild and industry free. The progress made in the NY/NJ bight should be locked-in and pollution locked-out.

In 2011 and 2012, there have been a few new developments:

April 2012 Seismic Survey Hearings
  • The U.S. Department of Interior announced on Wednesday March 28, 2012, that it will be authorizing "seismic testing" to find oil and natural gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to just off the New Jersey Shore.
  • For a detailed look at the issue, Read more here or see the COA Blog.
  • For COA Press statements on the surveys, click here and here.
  • For a Fact Sheet on the Seismic Surveys, click here.
  • To read what your elected officials have to say about these surveys, check out our Guest Blog post with their official statements.
  • To read our 2009 comments to the agency in charge of these surveys, click here, and stay tuned for our 2012 comments!
April 2012 - Second Anniversary of BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster
  • Years later, sea life is still suffering from oil and clean-up chemicals that were released into the ecosystem, more here.
  • Gulf spill liability is still an unresolved issue, criminally, and in civil court.
Summer 2011 Push to Open the Atlantic to Drilling
  • Bills in the House of Representatives were posted and voted on that would open the Atlantic Ocean to Oil Drilling ASAP...Read all about it here.
  • After initially supporting the idea of drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, President Obama reversed course and took drilling off the table (for now).
  • Despite the momentary reprieve in drilling the Atlantic, President Obama expanded drilling elsewhere and announced plans to do destructive seismic surveys in the pristine Atlantic basin, read more here.
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