Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Miyoko Sakashita, miyoko@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 632-5308

Press Release

Obama Administration OKs Super Noisy Airguns in Opening up Atlantic Coast to Oil Exploration

Blast could deafen, kill whales, dolphins, other wildlife
SAN FRANCISCO -

July 18 - The Obama administration today gave the green light to oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic Coast, including approval from the Department of the Interior to allow seismic surveys to blast noisy airguns known to injure and harm marine mammals. 

“The Atlantic Ocean should be off limits to oil and gas drilling. It’s habitat that should be protected for endangered right whales and other wildlife, but instead the government is planning to let oil companies blast airguns, drill, and probably spill oil,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s an ugly turn of events.”

Seismic exploration surveys use arrays of high-powered air guns to search for oil and generate the loudest human sounds in the ocean short of explosives. The blasts, which can reach more than 250 decibels, can cause hearing loss in marine mammals, disturb essential behaviors such as feeding and breeding over vast distances, mask communications between individual whales and dolphins, and reduce catch rates of commercial fish.

“Whales use sound in the ocean to communicate, find food and reproduce. Blasting loud airguns into their environment to look for oil not only interferes with these essential behaviors but can deafen and even kill them,” said Sakashita.

Now the Atlantic Ocean is open for business. According to the decision document, the Department will now accept permit applications for seismic surveys in federal waters from Delaware Bay to Cape Canaveral.

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. 

Docs Show DHS Watchdog Delayed Telling Congress About Deleted Secret Service Texts

The Project on Government Oversight says the records reveal a pattern of Inspector General Joseph Cuffari "rejecting proposals to inform Congress about the Secret Service's resistance to oversight."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Dictatorship Never Again': Massive Pro-Democracy Protests Sweep Brazil

"Democracy involves changing the government and eliminating neo-fascism," said one prominent protester, "but above all, ensuring that the working class, the people, have the rights guaranteed in the Constitution."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Door to Real Progress': Jayapal Makes Case for House Passage of the IRA

"It's an achievement we can all feel excited about—especially when we dig into the details," said the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Julia Conley ·


Officers Kill Gunman Who Tried to Breach FBI Office in Ohio

Though the suspect's identity and potential motivations are not known, the attack follows fear of far-right retaliation for this week's federal search of former President Donald Trump's home.

Jessica Corbett ·


House Dems Urge Biden to Provide Assistance to Cuba Amid Fire Disaster

"Now is the time," said Reps. Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, and Gregory Meeks, to "prioritize humanitarian engagement, environmental protection, and regional cooperation."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo