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US Approves Plan To Open Atlantic To Oil Reserve Surveys

US Approves Plan To Open Atlantic To Oil Reserve Surveys thumbnail

The Obama administration on Friday approved a plan that would allow companies to assess oil resources off the Atlantic Coast, angering environmental groups that worried the plan will harm marine life and open the door to offshore drilling.

First outlined by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in February, the plan lays out the mitigation measures companies would be required to undertake before conducting seismic testing to gauge the oil reserves in the Atlantic Ocean.

“We are taking every step we think is reasonable to take to try and put those protections in place, while still allowing surveys to occur,” Acting BOEM Director Walter Cruickshank said on a press call.

BOEM emphasized that the plan does not authorize any particular seismic surveys and that companies would still have to apply for site-specific permits.

Several companies have pending applications to assess the Atlantic oil reserves. Cruickshank said surveys could begin early next year.

Green groups slammed the plan, which they said did not offer enough protection for fisheries and marine mammals and would lead to more oil and gas production. They are concerned that the underwater blasts of compressed air could wreak havoc.

“The use of seismic airguns is the first step to expanding dirty and dangerous offshore drilling to the Atlantic Ocean,” Oceana campaign director Claire Douglass said in a statement.

While a decades-old ban on drilling in the Atlantic was lifted by Congress in 2008, the Obama administration canceled a planned lease sale off the Virginia coast after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The administration has begun to craft the next five-year U.S. offshore oil and gas leasing plan, which will run from 2017 to 2022.

The BOEM said the seismic testing framework does not mean a decision has been made on whether the Atlantic will be included in the new five-year plan.

RIGZONE



15 Comments on "US Approves Plan To Open Atlantic To Oil Reserve Surveys"

  1. Makati1 on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 7:04 am 

    Hmmm … Katrina, Sandy, …

  2. paulo1 on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 8:46 am 

    Maybe they can turn Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza into accomodation for transiting oil field workers. They have a heli-pad. I can see big multi-engine rotaries heading off the defunct casino for offshore platforms. Trump will be saved!!

    Paulo

  3. Davy on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 9:33 am 

    Paulo especially with sea level rise it could double as a oil platform.

  4. Newfie on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 10:17 am 

    So much for weaning ourselves off oil. What a joke.

  5. Plantagenet on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 10:20 am 

    Obama has no intention of “weaning ourselves off oil”. This is the second time he’s moved to open the east coast to oil exploration— his first opening was rolled back after the BP oil spill

  6. JuanP on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 10:31 am 

    I don’t expect any oil that can be extracted and brought to markets, to remain in the ground or, in this case, underwater forever. As a Miami Beach resident, I hope this takes a long time before it reaches this far South, but I do, of course, have the Russians drilling in Cuba very close to home now.

  7. rollin on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 10:56 am 

    I expect things to get much worse as the last of the oil and fuel is brought up to be burned. Increasing monetary and political desperation will wreck our beautiful world.

  8. GregT on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 3:13 pm 

    Things are going to get much worse long before the last of the oil is brought up to be burned. Climate change is going to intensify for another forty years, even if we stopped burning fossil fuels right now, which we won’t. If positive feedback mechanisms kick in, monetary and political desperation will be the least of our concerns.

  9. John Orr on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 4:42 pm 

    I’m sure the Atlantic Ocean and all parts of the earth have been earmarked for drilling long ago with the earth penetrating technology out there and as usual we know of technology years later….let’s be honest we need oil energy for the near/unknown future, I would rather cough a bit and have use of the web and social media than go back to the old ages…..so far climate change is getting less and less to do with oil burning the more info that comes forward….

  10. JuanP on Sat, 19th Jul 2014 5:27 pm 

    Rollin, I expect us to burn all the wood, and trees and other plant life for fuel after we run out of fossil fuels until there is nothing left. I hope it’s after my wife and I are gone.

  11. GregT on Sun, 20th Jul 2014 12:24 am 

    “let’s be honest we need oil energy for the near/unknown future”

    We ‘need’ oil like we need cancer, the plague, or global mass extinction.

  12. John Orr on Sun, 20th Jul 2014 4:20 am 

    Looks like we won’t hear from Greg T anymore folks…he doesn’t want to use energy to communicate from now on!

  13. Davy on Sun, 20th Jul 2014 7:17 am 

    Greg, I am not so sure we can frame the discussion that way. Are we really ready to pull the plug and see what shakes out? Is that the right path? There is no way to know frankly. Descent involves chaos so anything can shakeout. It may so happen an initial quick and painful descent is best. I am thinking a few years more and we may get a critical mass of plan B type people at the bottom that will save some civilization. It is not all bad. Oil is the primary resource keeping BAU going.

  14. JuanP on Sun, 20th Jul 2014 8:07 am 

    Davy & NWR, I agree that a fast intense collapse ASAP would probably be better, and that is why I don’t believe it will play out that way. In my short and limited experience, humans have always fared better and done worse than I imagined by pushing the limits beyond reason. We have an incredible capacity to adapt by causing further destruction. I now believe it will be a long, drawn out affair that will totally destroy the environment and will last longer than we will. I very much hope I am wrong about this.

  15. WhenTheEagleFlies on Mon, 21st Jul 2014 1:32 pm 

    I admit I was a one-issue voter. I always voted for the Democrats because they were better for the environment, and cringed when I did because I never bought that abortion was okay. But, with six years of Obama, and no slowing down of envirnmental alert emails, I see no point in ignoring all my other concerns. Thuggery is all around me. It’s the Tea Party for me now!