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Interior Secretary Jewell Rules out Atlantic Offshore Leasing Until 2017; Seismic Protections Needed

NEW YORK (June 6, 2013) – Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today ruled out any Atlantic Ocean oil and gas lease sales before 2017, effectively rejecting calls for new Outer Continental Shelf leasing in the region.

Following is a statement from Sarah Chasis, director of NRDC’s Oceans Program:

“Secretary Jewell today reaffirmed the Obama Administration’s position not to open the Atlantic coast to environmentally risky offshore oil and gas leasing and drilling.

“But to properly protect our ocean wildlife and coastal communities, the Interior Department must not allow seismic exploration in the Atlantic – a precursor to such offshore oil and gas leasing. This seismic activity involves the use of airgun arrays that create intense sound, comparable to explosives, which has serious consequences for endangered whales and potentially for fisheries.

“According to the agency’s own Environmental Impact Statement, this seismic exploration would injure as many as 138,500 marine mammals and disrupt feeding, calving, breeding, and other vital activities more than 13.5 million times over the next several years. The time and resources that the Interior Department is allocating to this seismic airgun testing could be better used on higher priorities that will allow our nation to move away from dirty fuels.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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