Congressman Lowenthal Urges Consideration of Man-Made Sound Impacts on Marine Life For Any Off-Shore Oil and Gas Development
Congressman Alan Lowenthal today, along with 21 Congressional colleagues, called on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to rely on National Marine Fisheries Services’ (NMFS) 2016 technical guidance for assessing the effects of man-made sound, such as seismic testing, on marine mammals during any future ocean environment oil or gas development.
The letter goes on to point out that coastal recreation, whale watching, and fishing are major contributors to local economies. All of these would be impacted by oil exploration and development if oil companies are allowed to proceed uninformed by any scientific guidance.The NMFS guidance that the Congressman’s letter supports explains the risks of seismic testing to marine ecosystems, and establishes threshold guidelines under which operators will minimize sound impacts on the marine ecosystem.
“If new ocean areas are opened up to oil exploration and leasing under President Trump’s recent Executive Order, Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” the letter continues, “it is vital that this exploration be done in an environmentally responsible way that protects the fragile marine ecosystems. I am hopeful that the Administration will consider the recommendations contained in this letter as it formulates policies relating to offshore oil exploration.”
The letter urges Secretary Ross to rely on the NMFS technical guidance as currently written, which includes robust scientific information, has been extensively reviewed, and provides a systematic and transparent assessment of the impacts of underwater sounds along our coasts.
“A full consideration of these impacts is absolutely necessary to ensure that any oil and gas development is environmentally responsible,” the letter concludes.
To read the full text of the letter and the signatories, click here.
Washington, DC Office
125 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7924
Fax: (202) 225-7926
LA County Office
100 W. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90802
West Tower Suite 600
Phone: (562) 436-3828
Fax: (562) 437-6434
Hours: M-F 9am-5pm PST
Orange County Office
12865 Main Street, Suite 200
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Opening in Oct. 2017