For Immediate Release
Kristen Monsell, (914)-806-3467, email@example.com
Trump Officials Push for Atlantic Oil Exploration Using Harmful Seismic Blasting
Permits Would Hurt Endangered Whales, Open Way to Offshore Drilling Opposed by East Coast Communities
WASHINGTON - The Trump administration today issued draft authorizations to five companies to search for oil off the Atlantic Coast — from Florida to Delaware — using loud seismic airgun blasts that hurt whales, dolphins and other animals. The exploration activities are the first step to opening the Atlantic to new oil drilling.
“Deafening whales and dolphins to hunt for dirty oil in these sensitive coastal environments is reckless and cruel,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Seismic blasting is opposed by people along the East Coast who don’t want the oil industry wreaking havoc in the Atlantic. It’s outrageous that the Trump administration is catering to Big Oil by ignoring the needs of wildlife and coastal communities.”
The proposals would allow the firing of seismic airguns from ships every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a noise level that would rupture a human eardrum. Nearly 100 municipalities from New Jersey to Florida have adopted resolutions rejecting seismic blasting off the East Coast. And more than 40,000 local businesses and business associations have publicly opposed it, citing threats to marine life and local economies.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration denied six applications for seismic exploration in the Atlantic, in part because the loud blasts would harm critically endangered North Atlantic right whales and other sensitive wildlife. But in May the Trump administration revoked that denial and announced it was reconsidering the permits.
Today’s draft authorizations were issued under a provision in the Marine Mammal Protection Act that allows the federal government to authorize certain industrial activities to harm or injure marine mammals, provided such activities will have no more than a “negligible impact” on the population.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
The media landscape is changing fast
Our news team is changing too as we work hard to bring you the news that matters most.
Change is coming. And we've got it covered.
Please donate to our 2019 Mid-Year Campaign today.
Please donate to our 2019 Mid-Year Campaign today.
“Whales and dolphins shouldn’t have to endure this onslaught of seismic blasts that can cause painful hearing loss and other damage,” Monsell said. “The Atlantic should stay off limits to the oil and gas industry.”
In 2015, 75 scientists found that opening the Atlantic Ocean to seismic airgun exploration “poses an unacceptable risk of serious harm to marine life,” including North Atlantic right whales, of which fewer than 500 individuals remain on Earth. The scientists also warned of “significant, long-lasting, and widespread” harm to fish and marine mammal populations should the blasting proceed.
Seismic exploration surveys use high-powered airguns to search for deposits of oil and gas. They 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.
The proposed authorizations are for Spectrum Geo Inc., TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company, ION GeoVentures, WesternGeco, LLC and CGG. The National Marine Fisheries Service will take comments on the proposals during a 30-day public comment period.
We want a more open and sharing world.
That's why our content is free. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported.
All of our original content is published under Creative Commons—allowing (and encouraging) our articles to be republished freely anywhere. In addition to the traffic and reach our content generates on our site, the multiplying impact of our work is huge and growing as our articles flourish across the Internet and are republished by other large and small online and print outlets around the world.
Several times a year we run brief campaigns to ask our readers to pitch in—and thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Our 2019 Mid-Year Campaign is underway. Can you help? We can't do it without you.
Please select a donation method:
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.