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Maryland Senators Urge Governor Hogan to Protect Marine Mammals and Atlantic Fisheries

July 5th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have written to Governor Larry Hogan (R-Md.) urging him to protect marine mammals and Maryland’s fisheries from needless seismic surveying testing. Earlier this month, NOAA proposed Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHA), permits necessary to conduct damaging seismic surveying using airgun blasts that repeat every ten seconds, for 24 hours a day, for weeks at a time. Oil and gas companies conduct this surveying to find new oil and gas reserves. Under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), States have the authority to request a review of these permits to ensure that they align with the Coast Management Plan that Maryland’s Department of National Resources developed.

 

“We strongly urge you to direct Maryland Department of Natural Resources to formally request a CZMA consultation from the National Marine Fisheries Service due to the likely negative impacts the proposed geological and geophysical activity would have on Maryland’s marine species and coastal economies.” the Senators wrote in their letter. “As a coastal state with one of the world’s largest estuaries in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s economic health especially relies on a healthy ocean. Each year, roughly 90,000 jobs and more than $5.4 billion in GDP comes from our ocean economy.”

 

The seismic surveying injures and causes deafness to marine mammals and disorients other marine species. By the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s own study, this surveying could injure 138,000 marine mammals.

 

The comment period is open to the public until July 6, 2017.  Marylanders can do their part to help protect the Bay and the ocean by submitting comments to the proposed seismic surveying here.

 

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