Although the Obama administration is keeping the Atlantic and new areas in the Gulf off-limits to oil exploration and production for now, it plans to go forward with seismic testing in the Atlantic – the first step to opening the area to drilling. SELC has called attention to the ecological harm to wildlife from these tests, particularly the endangered right whale population, and we are advocating a shift in focus to clean energy sources.
A final Environmental Impact Statement on seismic surveying in the Atlantic is expected in early 2014. Also in 2014, the Obama administration is expected to begin working on the next five-year leasing plan, meaning that areas listed in the plan would be open to drilling. There has been no exploratory drilling in the Atlantic for 30 years.