U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today applauded the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) denial of all pending geophysical and geological (G&G) permit applications to conduct airgun seismic surveys in the Mid- and South Atlantic Planning Areas of the Atlantic Ocean. In April 2016, Sen. Booker led a letter to President Obama signed by Senator Menendez urging the Administration to refrain from granting permits for seismic testing, a harmful exploration process for oil and natural gas that could have serious negative impacts on marine mammals and commercial and recreational fisheries.

“Today we achieved a great victory not only for our environment, but for New Jersey’s shore economy,” said Sen. Menendez. “Seismic airgun testing poses a serious threat to fish populations, profitable fisheries and marine life. That is why I have long championed permanently banning this procedure, and will again be introducing legislation to do so in the coming year.”

“I am proud to join countless organizations, concerned citizens, and coastal stakeholders in thanking the Obama Administration for choosing to protect the Atlantic from harmful seismic airgun blasting,” said Sen. Booker. “Today’s announcement is a victory for New Jersey’s marine ecosystems and coastal economies, and sends a clear signal that the Atlantic must remain free from harmful oil and gas production."

Last April, the senators introduced the Atlantic Seismic Airgun Protection Act that would permanently prohibit seismic exploration on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.

The Senate passed an amendment in April authored by Senators Menendez and Booker that sought to block seismic testing for methane hydrate in the Atlantic Ocean. Methane Hydrate, a form of natural gas, is estimated to have 25 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

In March of 2016, the Obama administration declared Atlantic waters off limits for oil and gas leasing for the next five years, and in December, President Obama took steps to further protect the Jersey Shore from offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean by heeding Booker and Menendez’ call to permanently ban offshore drilling in deep water canyons from Virginia to New England, including off the New Jersey coast.