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Maryland AG reacts to court ruling banning seismic testing

October 6th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Today, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina issued an order marking the end of the Trump Administration’s plan to allow seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean for purposes of oil and gas exploration.  In 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) granted incidental harassment authorizations, or IHAs, to five companies seeking to use airguns to conduct seismic testing for these purposes.  Shortly thereafter, Attorney General Frosh led a multistate coalition in challenging the IHAs in court.  Today’s court order makes clear that the companies will not engage in seismic testing prior to the IHAs’ November 30 expiration date, and that the IHAs cannot be renewed or extended beyond that date.  Thus, the order explains, the IHAs’ expiration will render the lawsuit moot.  


“Today’s court order means the Trump Administration’s plans to open the Atlantic Coast to seismic testing – a precursor to offshore drilling – is dead in the water.  Time and time again, this Administration has placed the interests of the fossil fuel industry ahead of our precious natural resources.  We witnessed the massive damage to wildlife, the fishing industry, and to people following oil spill disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world.  We must move forward to develop clean, safe, and environmentally-friendly energy sources.  If this administration attempts to move forward again, we will return to court to protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay and our vulnerable Atlantic Coast shoreline.”