WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, slammed the Trump Administration’s decision to allow harassment of marine mammals during seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean. The National Marine Fisheries Service has awarded permits to five marine contractors for incidental harassment of marine mammals during seismic testing in the waters between Delaware and Central Florida. Seismic tests are conducted to search for oil and gas deposits beneath the ocean floor and are often a pre-cursor to offshore oil drilling.
“Delaware has made clear its opposition to seismic testing because our state’s economy relies on the health and wellbeing of our coasts. Today’s proposal is step in that direction and a threat to our economy, our environment, and our way of life all along the East Coast,” said Senator Carper. “Clean coastal waters and the ocean ecosystems they support draw millions of visitors from around the country and billions of dollars for our coastal communities. Seismic testing unnecessarily puts those economic drivers at risk, along with the vibrant marine life that inhabits the waters off of our coast. I have long advocated for a strategy to meet our country’s energy needs as we move toward greater energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, but today’s proposal paving the path toward seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean is shortsighted and tone-deaf. Just days after 13 federal agencies issued a dire warning about the impacts of climate change and the need to change course, the Trump Administration has taken yet another major step backward.”
In July 2017, Senators Carper and Coons sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce opposing issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) permits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to companies to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic, citing concerns for marine life and 40 state and local elected officials from Delaware to the Department of Interior in opposition to proposed seismic surveys.
In February 2018, Senator Carper took to the Senate floor to highlight potentially devastating effects of the Trump Administration’s proposal to open up parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to oil and gas exploration.