Duncan Issues Statement on DOI's Reversal on Seismic Testing

May 11, 2017 Issues: Energy

Washington, D.C. – South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to reverse the Obama Administration’s blanket ban of six seismic survey permit applications in the Atlantic:

“It has been 30+ years since seismic survey work was conducted in the Atlantic. What harm would it do to use 21st Century technology to assess the potential resources off of America's shores?  Should natural gas resources be discovered off SC's coast, over the horizon, I'll bet the conversations would be different with regards to how South Carolina might play a part in the nation's energy security matrix.  If a predicable amount of oil is discovered off our coastline, I am willing to have a broader conversation about whether or not the state pursues the development of these resources or not.

“The Department of the Interior’s decision to reverse the Obama Administration’s blanket denial of six Atlantic seismic survey permit applications is a win for the people of South Carolina. By allowing for the new Administration to take a measured and thoughtful approach, I hope they will understand the clear science on the issue and proceed to approve these permits. It was unclear why the Obama Administration blocked the ability for South Carolinians to research any potential energy resources under the Atlantic outer-continental shelf. The radical environmental critics against any exploration and development of natural energy resources have long claimed that seismic surveys would kill marine mammals. However, there is broad scientific consensus that this is simply not the case. Even former Director Abigail Hopper, who headed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management under the Obama Administration, acknowledged to me under oath in a hearing that there is zero scientific evidence that seismic surveys would irrevocably harm marine mammals. The blanket denial by the Obama Administration flies in the face of this testimony.

“American energy security should be the overriding goal of federal policy. Environmental precautions should be observed, as clear processes are stated and provided for in law. However, the ultimate concern for all Americans is the “expeditious and orderly development” of such offshore resources. It is a matter not just of national interest, but the strategic security of America. I applaud the Trump Administration for making this determination, and hope a future approval of seismic survey permits will take place to give South Carolinians the facts of offshore resource potential.”