WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, released the following statement in response to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Record of Decision allowing for the testing of seismic airgun testing in the mid-Atlantic and south-Atlantic coasts:
“I have consistently opposed the use of seismic airgun testing to explore for oil and natural gas drilling. I have joined with other Atlantic Coast Senators to urge the President and Department of the Interior to prohibit the use of seismic airgun testing and utilize the latest National Marine Fisheries Service guidance to determine the dramatic harm airgun testing will have on marine mammal life. According to the Department of the Interior’s own estimates, up to 138,500 marine mammals would be injured if subjected to seismic airgun testing and other vital life activities would be disrupted.
“In 2010, President Obama recognized the dangers of oil and gas development off the mid-Atlantic and south-Atlantic coasts and prohibited oil and gas drilling off of the Atlantic Coast through 2017. A significant oil spill off of the coast of Maryland would bring tremendous risks for our coastal economy, marine life, fisheries and the future of the Chesapeake Bay, a national environmental treasure. The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster showed the risk of offshore drilling to people and places, wildlife and ways of life for Maryland watermen and tourism industries.
“The Mid-Atlantic is just too environmentally sensitive for drilling. I urge the Administration to reconsider its plans to allow this testing which will only serve to harm Maryland’s coastal communities and the natural resources which drive our economy. We must develop an energy policy that protects our environment and re-establishes our global leadership on combating climate change. I support Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s commitment to the establishment of offshore wind farms in Maryland. This form of clean, renewable energy will help meet our nation’s energy needs without the disastrous consequences of an oil spill.”