Tag Archives: Department of Interior

Department of Interior’s final plan abandons oil drilling off Atlantic Coast

5d63ccd898b6bad3“I am pleased and relieved that the Department of Interior’s final plan abandons its earlier proposal to allow drilling in the Atlantic from Georgia to Virginia,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th Dist.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “That proposal was incredibly shortsighted, and would have threatened the ecology and economy, and public health all along the Atlantic coast, including our New Jersey coastline. New Jersey lawmakers of both parties mobilized to fight the original proposal, citing the threat to tourism industry that generates $43 billion annually and supports 500,000 jobs, and a fishing industry that adds $7.9 billion a year to the state’s economy, responsible for more than 50,000 jobs. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) urged President Barack Obama in a Senate floor speech Thursday to permanently put the Atlantic Ocean off limits to oil drilling, which he can do under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Read the rest here 08:42

Opinion: Stop the Obama administration from destroying our coastal economy

ObamaThe Obama Administration is very close to unleashing an underwater sonic boom attack off our Atlantic Coast, including South Carolina’s. You probably have two immediate questions. What am I talking about? And why should you care? First, a sonic boom is how Richard Viso, a professor in the Coastal Environment School at Coastal Carolina University, describes seismic testing. Seismic testing is a highly dangerous process that uses intense airgun blasting to send extremely loud sound waves miles below the seafloor in a hunt for oil deposits. One seismic testing vessel can tow up to 96 airguns, which can cover an area 21 times larger than the National Mall in Washington. These sonic booms, which can be heard for thousands of miles underwater, are repeated every 10 to 12 seconds, creating one of the loudest noises in the oceans. Seismic testing under just one lease can go on for up to an entire year. The Obama Administration’s Department of Interior is set to issue up to 9 seismic testing permits because oil companies don’t share information. Read the story here 11:37

Feds halt South Atlantic offshore drilling leases , but not seismic testing

There were public expressions of surprise, relief and victory from environmental groups and local officials after the U.S. Department of Interior’s March 15 announcement that there would be no offshore drilling leases in the Atlantic Ocean for the 2017-2022 period. But for drilling opponents and environmental advocates, that celebration has been tempered somewhat by news that, even without drilling, the process of awarding permits for seismic testing in the Atlantic will go ahead — and could lead to such testing later this year. Read the rest here 13:07

Some Md. lawmakers oppose seismic testing

Eight Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote President Obama Monday urging him to reconsider his administration’s plan to allow seismic testing for oil and gas off the mid-Atlantic coast. According to the Department of Interior’s estimates, they said, the use of air guns for testing would injure about 138,000 marine mammals and disrupt their feeding, calving, breeding and other activities. <Read more here> 20:12

University of Southern Mississippi asks Professor / Chairman Vernon Asper to step down from Commission on Marine Resources

Chairman Vernon Asper has resigned from the  Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources, following a recommendation from his employer — the University of Southern Mississippi, where he has been a Professor of Marine Sciences for the past 27 years. “The university administration had become concerned that my continued service on the commission was becoming a liability to the university,” Asper said Wednesday morning. “They want to keep the university separate from this kind of controversy.” (Controversy? Like the IG’s final audit report on DMR?) The report also mentions conflicts of interest between Walker and his wife Sharon, who has been employed by two major subgrantees — the University of Southern Mississippi and the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. Walker’s son, Scott, served on the board of trustees of the Nature Conservancy, which was the recipient of grants, another conflict of interest. DMR also used CIAP funds to purchase property owned by Scott Walker. This could get interesting! Chairman Vernon Asper steps down from Commission on Marine Resources (updated)

Inspector General’s final audit report on DMR cites numerous mismanagement issues (updated)

Op-Ed: How You Can Prevent 130,000 Marine Mammals From Going Deaf

In the coming months, the Obama Administration will make a decision that will profoundly impact the health of the Atlantic Ocean. It will decide whether to proceed with seismic survey off the Eastern coastline to map oil and gas resources. continued

Seven US fisheries scientists have raised a formal complaint of political interference over salmon studies – complaint of scientific misconduct

The letter alleges that Klamath Basin area office manager Jason Phillips violated the agency’s scientific-integrity policy, adopted in 2011 as part of US President Barack Obama’s nationwide initiative to protect science from political interference. According to the letter, the scientists believe Phillips intended to shut down the research group — known as the Fisheries Resources Branch — believing that the team’s work on salmon and other fish contradicted the plans and findings of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)  and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read more  Read the original complaint