Shaheen, Hassan Join Booker to Reintroduce Bill to Ban Seismic Testing in Atlantic

March 15, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and a group of Senators to reintroduce the Atlantic Seismic Airgun Protection Act, a bill that prohibits oil, gas, and methane hydrate-related seismic activities in the Atlantic Ocean.  

Specifically, the bill bans the use of seismic airgun blasting - a disruptive method of blasting compressed air toward the ocean floor in search of oil and gas - in the North Atlantic, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Straits of Florida.  

“The Trump administration is recklessly pursuing oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic while at the same time weakening safety rules put in place to prevent large oil spills,” said Senator Shaheen. “An environmental disaster from oil drilling, anywhere from Nova Scotia to Delaware, would be devastating for New Hampshire’s Seacoast and would threaten our outdoor recreation industry and regional economy. Congress needs to act to protect our shores and marine wildlife. Further, seismic airgun blasts are harmful to marine populations, including whales, which are already struggling. Republican Leadership should join Democrats in passing this legislation before the next large oil spill occurs.”  

 “This commonsense legislation would prohibit big oil from using damaging methods like seismic blasting in the Atlantic Ocean that would harm our fishermen, marine life, and industries like tourism – all of which are central to New Hampshire’s high quality of life,” said Senator Hassan. “I urge all my colleagues in the Senate to support this critical measure to ensure that New Hampshire’s beautiful coastline, as well as coastlines down the Atlantic, are protected from these disruptive practices.” 

The bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).  

Shaheen and Hassan have repeatedly spoken out against the President’s efforts to move forward with steps on offshore Atlantic drilling. In 2017, the Senators called on the President to hold public hearings before granting permits to drill in the Atlantic Ocean due to concerns over the effects of seismic tests.