Public comment window extended for seismic testing and offshore drilling

FILE- In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, file aerial photo, a supply vessel moves near Black Elk Energy's oil platform damaged by an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico about 17 miles from Grand Isle, La. An oil industry services company will pay $9.5 million in penalties for Gulf of Mexico safety violations and for pollution from the 2012 offshore platform fire that killed three workers. The penalties against Houston-based Wood Group PSN were announced Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, by the U.S. Justice Department in Washington and U.S. attorneys in New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana, where civil and criminal cases have been playing out. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — The deadline for public input on seismic testing and offshore drilling has been extended to July 21, 2017.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration originally set the deadline for July 6, 2017, after the federal government submitted for permits.

NOAA says the group extended the public input deadline because so many people requested more time.

Some in favor of offshore drilling, like the National Ocean Industries Association, say polls show that most Americans want domestic energy, including looking for oil offshore.  That group also says offshore drilling can lead to new jobs and overall economic activity…

However, others in the Lowcountry believe the seismic testing and drilling could hurt our coastal economy.

“There’s a chance that 40 to 80 percent of our local catches could no longer be available to us,” said Jamee Haley, Executive Director of Lowcountry Local First.

“Our seafood industry is already suffering … If we do one more thing, we may lose that precious resource,” she said.

Anyone who would like to mail a letter stating an opinion, they should address it: Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Email comments should be directed to ITP.Laws@noaa.gov.

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