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seismic operation and future oil drillings would not harm planktonic organisms—drifting plants and animals of microscopic size.
The apparent lack of scientific information regarding the effect of extensive oil activity off the New England coast necessitates a very careful and conclusive study and survey of the area to determine the feasibility of the fishing and oil interests working together.
Many times cold statistics indicate trends and emphasize important but little known facts.
Fishing is America's first industry. I know that you are aware of the decline of the American fishing industry in the past 10 years from second place in the world's fishing position to sixth place in 1967, preceded by Norway.
Georges Fishing Banks off the New England coast is one of the most prolific fishing grounds in the world today, with 14 nations fishing all year round in this 10,000 square mile area.
. According to the records of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, in 1965, 1,958 million pounds of fish were taken from the banks with the United States catching 691 million pounds. In a short period of 3 years, U.S. fish catch declined over 300 million pounds in this area.
The fishing area from North Carolina to Canada offers approximately 40 percent of the edible fish consumed in this country and 12 percent of the world's fish supply.
I believe that the committee is aware that 65 percent of the fish consumed in this country is imported with 35 percent supplied by the domestic fleet.
Although the Division of Commercial Fisheries has been most cooperative, we are of the opinion that the fishing interests do not have a strong voice with the Department of Interior when matters pertaining to oil exploitation are under consideration.
The study recommended in H.R. 11584 could well be the avenue by which all interested parties could determine if fish and oil could work together in the New England area.
To supplement previous testimony, I wish to offer an article appearing in section C of the April issue of the National Fisherman, entitled "It Isn't Easy Mixing Oil and Fish.” Here in detail is the oft-repeated story of the oil interests infringing upon the oyster industry, threatening their valuable oysterbeds.
The fall issue of the Compass has a story about fighting the sea for oil, which details the ever-present hazards connected with oil drilling, oil well blowouts, fire at sea, and the many accidents which occur when seeking minerals in the sea.
In my presentation I have endeavored categorically to allude to the various problems and conditions which arose following the fish kill off Chatham. Today the New England fishing industry cannot afford to have additional burdens to contend with, when we are deeply involved with the trials and tribulations of increased foreign fishing activity and the continued decline in domestic catch. With the event of oil operations off our coast, it may well create sufficient opposition to cause many of our marginal fishing boats to cease fishing.
Therefore, we must turn to the Oceanography Committee for protection of our resources, even on a temporary basis as suggested in the H.R. 11584.
A moratorium for 2 years to study the effects of oil explorations and drilling in Georges Bank would be most constructive. It would be in
line with the Department of the Interior's advice that it would be from 4 to 6 years before there would be any leasing of lands for oil drilling.
Mr. LENNON. When does the Department of the Interior advise you by letter that it would be from 4 to 6 years there?
Mr. O’ROURKE. I have a letter here dated December 1966, and this letter is signed by Secretary Udall, directed to Congressman O'Neill, of Cambridge.
Mr. LENNON. We ask unanimous consent, gentlemen, to insert that letter in the hearing record following your statement.
Could you furnish that for the record ?
A moratorium for 2 years to study the effects of oil explorations and drilling in Georges Bank would be most constructive. It would be in line with the Department of the Interior's advice that it would be from 4 to 6 years before there would be any leasing of lands for oil drilling. This study would prove conclusively whether oil drilling would contaminate or spoil one of nature's most prolific fishing grounds.
Our primary concern is the possible damage to our native fishing grounds, which today provide a livelihood for thousands of New England citizens.
Our committee concurs with the December 20, 1966, letter from Secretary Udall to Representative Thomas O'Neill, of Cambridge, Mass., in which he said, “As you know, we are dedicated to the principle that your beautiful seacoast and your great schools of fish must be preserved." Thank you. (The document referred to follows:)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
Washington, D.C., December 20, 1966. Hon. THOMAS P. O'NEILL, Jr., John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Boston, Mass.
DEAR MR. O'NEILL: A further response to your letter of December 2 concerning the adverse effect on the aquatic life and the beauty of the seacoast, purportedly caused by oil industry activities in the Cape Cod area of the Outer Continental Shelf, was promised by my letter of December 6.
No detonation of explosives or drilling for oil or gas off the coast of Chatham is underway at the present time under Federal authorization. Some seismic work using explosives was conducted on the Georges Bank last September, but such work has long since been terminated. No drilling under Federal authorization has taken place or can take place in the absence of oil and gas leases, and the issuance of leases appears to be several years in the future.
As you know, we are dedicated to the principle that your beautiful seacoast and your great schools of fish must be preserved. However, the experience of this Department and of certain States in marine exploration and production off other areas of the United States has proved conclusively that, if the oil operations are properly controlled, the oil and fishing industries can coexist in reasonable harmony without undue damage to aquatic life and the natural beauty can be preserved. This has been amply demonstrated off the West Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico and we will insist that the same high operational standards be applied in the Atlantic.
To insure that the views of the fishing interests will not be overlooked, a formal committee composed of representatives of the New England fishing industry and State officials has been formed to meet with the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and to study the best means by which the interests of the fishing industry may be
protected. It is anticipated that the findings of the committee and the views of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries will be made available to the Geological Survey since that agency has the direct responsibility for oil industry operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. The committee held its first meeting on November 3, met again on November 30, and plans further meetings. We are optimistic that this approach will be helpful in minimizing industry conflicts. Sincerely yours,
STEWART L. UDALL,
Secretary of the Interior. Mr. LENNOX. Off the record. (Discussion off the record.)
Mr. LENNON. We will ask the reporter to insert in the record the letter you referred to, and that is the letter, as I understand, that you received in 1966, in which the Department says in their judgment it will be at least 4 to 6 years before there would be any leases for oil drilling.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Yes, sir.
Mr. O'Rourke. I have given it to the counsel, and he is going to run it off.
Mr. KEITH. I wondered if there were any matters in that letter which would shed light on this problem for the immediate purposes of this hearing
Mr. O'ROURKE. It was a letter to Congressman O'Neill, based on the fact that he had sent a letter to Secretary Udall advising him of our concern about the oil interests working off our coast.
Mr. LENNOX. I would ask the clerk of the committee to reproduce that letter and have it available for the members of the committee.
Gentlemen, we do appreciate your statement. I wish, sir, that we had time to ask you a series of questions; but, to accommodate the next witness, we will have to defer that to some later date.
I might say to you that we are going to have to adjourn this meeting in a matter of minutes.
Off the record.
Nr. LENNON. The hearings will stand adjourned until tomorrow at 10 o'clock,
Who is it that can't come tomorrow? (No response.)
Mr. LENNON. The hearing will stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.
(Whereupon at 12:05 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene on Wednesday, April 10, 1968.)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 1968
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 1302, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Alton Lennon (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. LENNON. The meeting will come to order.
Our first witness this morning is our colleague from California, the Honorable George E. Brown, Jr.
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE E. BROWN, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Brown. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Establishment of a marine sanctuaries system constitutes one of the Nation's most urgent conservation priorities. We are aware of how population pressures have intensified exploitative demands upon the wealth of the sea. We recognize that the quality of our ocean environment can be seriously impaired by unplanned industrial development offshore, and the pollution it creates. It follows that we must dedicate a system of ocean sanctuaries that can preserve a variety of marine plant and animal communities. We need these sanctuaries as laboratories for scientific research and as outdoor museums for education and esthetic enjoyment. Extensive ocean reserves are essential, furthermore, to perpetuate unmarred scenic beauty, ocean recreation, and sport and commercial fishing
Significant for what it protects, the sanctuary system has historic implications because of the way it provides this protection. We can learn a great deal from onshore zoning practices. In place of the near anarchy at sea, a system of zones not only for sanctuaries, but also for undersea agriculture, industry, and mining, could resolve severe conflicts of use. The sanctuary measures initiate and reinforce a rational zoning pattern in the ocean.
Although offshore mineral surveys are in progress, the ocean landuse studies that must serve as a basis for comprehensive planning of the sea environment have not yet been undertaken. According to the sanctuary bills, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to conduct the studies required to single out those areas to be dedicated. The bills then have the further distinction of pioneering an offshore planning study process upon which wise utilization and protection of our ocean environment must be founded. Only in this way can we obtain the highest advantages of all the multiple uses of the sea.
The bills also help to establish the climate in which good planning can be achieved. The Secretary of the Interior is to consult with interested public agencies, private companies, and citizen groups in an effort to accommodate varying concerns over the direction of outer shelf use. He will coordinate his studies with existing plans applicable to the region, and in this process hold hearings in the communities adjacent to proposed sanctuary sites.
This taking of the public into the Government's confidence in such crucial decisions affecting publicly owned land is a refreshing departure from present management practices in the Outer Continental Shelf.
Three testing grounds in which to implement the sanctuary legislation are mentioned in some of the bills—Plumb Island, off New Hampshire; the Georges Bank, at Cape Cod; and the Santa Barbara Channel, in southern California. The legislation I have introduced (H.R. 11868 and H.R. 11469) is substantially the same as the other sanctuary proposals and agrees with the bills of my colleagues from California that we should make appraisals including, but not limited to, the Santa Barbara Channel, along with the other areas specified in the bills.
The citizens living at Santa Barbara and Cape Cod, adjacent to potential sanctuaries, are committed to good planning for their communities. They ask legitimately that wise planning apply, as well, to their offshore environment. The marine sanctuaries study bills offer the type of planned protection and use that will conserve invaluable ocean resources.
Mr. LENNON. Thank you for a most provocative statement.
Another very able Congressman from California will be our next witness, the Honorable John V. Tunney.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN V. TUNNEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. TUNNEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. America is entering an exciting new era in oceanography. The technologies required to extract minerals from the world's oceans are rapidly improving and will unquestionably yield impressive benefits to society. With all this great promise, there remains the disquieting prospect that our present piecemeal and exploitative development of ocean resources wisl destroy our riches even as we seek to realize them. We are failing to approach our new challenge with an ecological sense of the complicated interrelationships and interaction of physical and social values associated with our ocean environment.
This failure of modern technology is characterized by a headlong disregard for biotic and esthetic consequences. Such disregard has led inevitably to the disaster of waste and pollution in the petroleum industry's pioneer rush for oil at the Outer Continental Shelf. The majority of Americans live along the Nation's shoreline, and I am hearing from many of them. Increasingly the public makes me and other Congressmen painfully aware of the pollution of our beaches,