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Oceana Applauds New Bipartisan Letter to President Obama Aimed at Protecting Atlantic Ocean from Seismic Airgun Blasting


Today, a new bipartisan letter signed by XX Members of Congress, led by Reps. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), sent a bi-partisan letter to President Obama urging him to deny seismic airgun blasting permits for the Atlantic Ocean that are currently pending at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Seismic airgun blasting, which is used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor, could cause widespread harm to whales, commercial fisheries, and other marine life.

Oceana applauded the new bipartisan letter and released the following statement by campaign director Claire Douglass:

"The fight to protect the Atlantic is not over, and we applaud Reps. Sanford and Connolly for their continued leadership to stop seismic airgun blasting. Especially now that offshore drilling in the Atlantic is off the table, there is even less rationale to consider risking the damage that would be caused by seismic airgun blasting in the region. The noise from seismic airgun blasting is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source, roughly the distance from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas. In addition to being extremely loud, these blasts will cause harm to marine life, including fish, turtles and whales, which depend on sound for communication and survival.

Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation. As a result, coastal communities remain united in their opposition to offshore drilling activities off our coast. As of today, 112 East Coast municipalities have publicly opposed seismic airgun blasting and/or offshore drilling, citing concerns to marine life, coastal communities and local economies. It's time for President Obama to stop seismic airgun blasting and protect the more than 100,000 marine mammals currently in harm's way. Instead of expanding our dependence on risky offshore drilling, we should rapidly develop clean energy solutions like offshore wind."

Oceana is the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization. Oceana works to protect and restore the world's oceans through targeted policy campaigns.