Jacksonville, FL - Northeast Florida Congressman John Rutherford is leading a bipartisan effort to hit the brakes on a plan that would allow seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Rutherford says he and 92 other members of Congress signed a letter addressed to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging them not to allow this testing to move forward, as he worries it's the first major step toward opening areas of the Atlantic to offshore oil and gas drilling.
This all comes the Trump administration announced last week it would be issuing five permits for companies planning to conduct surveys along the coast, including seismic airgun blasting.
"I am very concerned about the effects seismic testing would have vulnerable marine mammal populations and other marine life, but I also have many questions about how this will impact naval operations and training missions that operate off the East Coast. We have very little information on what this would mean for our national security, the health of our recovering fisheries, or our coastal economics," says Rutherford.
In the letter sent to Zinke and Ross, Rutherford also raises his concerns that any data obtained from these seismic surveys would be proprietary and only available to the oil and gas industry. The public and the government would have no access to the information.