Trump admin. allows seismic energy surveys in Atlantic
- The move rolls back Obama's ban that designated the Atlantic off limits for energy

Trump's administration has begun allowing energy firms to conduct seismic and geological surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. Interior Department announced Wednesday.

The department's statement read, "It will move forward to resume its evaluation of applications from six companies seeking permits to conduct geological and geophysical activities in the Atlantic Ocean."

“Seismic surveying helps a variety of federal and state partners better understand our nation’s offshore areas, including locating offshore hazards, siting of wind turbines, as well as offshore energy development,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in the statement.

The last seismic data on the region "were gathered more than 30 years ago," the department noted.

The move is part of Trump's America-First Offshore Energy Strategy that tries to "unleash a revolution" in the U.S. energy sector, which Trump promised during his campaign.

It also rolls back former President Barack Obama's ban in December, which designated the Atlantic Ocean, and the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic as "indefinitely off limits" due to their critical ecological value.

Environmental groups are concerned that seismic activities and geological surveys, as well as oil and gas production in the Atlantic in future, could pose a danger to the environment.

The Interior Department, however, said Wednesday "Seismic surveys are not expected to have significant impacts on marine mammal populations or the environment," according to the statement.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's acting director Dr. Walter Cruickshank said in the statement that the offshore resources will be developed "in an environmentally and economically responsible way."

By Ovunc Kutlu in New York

Anadolu Agency

11 May,2017