If you enjoyed the beach over the long holiday weekend or have plans to go to the coast later this summer, you owe it to yourself to read Lisa Sorg’s new piece on the main Policy Watch website.
Sorg details the latest plans for seismic testing and offshore drilling, along with details on how you can weigh-in this week to protect the Atlantic Coast.
Here’s an excerpt from her story:
The Atlantic Ocean has never been a silent place, what with the whales and their jabbering, the dolphins and their mating calls. The underwater sound waves of earthquakes, volcanoes and waves are background noise, akin to the hum of air conditioners in the summertime.
But over time, the noise beneath the sea grew louder, at times, even deafening. First, the ships. And over the centuries, trans-Atlantic cable, Navy sonar, submarines, even bombs.
And now, the air guns. The National Marine Fisheries Service is considering allowing energy companies to fire seismic air guns up and down the Atlantic Coast in search of oil and gas.
Seismic air guns use compressed air to generate pulses of sound — excruciatingly loud sound, 250 decibels — every 10 to 15 seconds for months at a time. For whales, dolphins and sea turtles, who communicate by sound, this noisy environment is akin to people trying to converse — say, hold a business meeting, read to their children, call the fire department — over the roar of a jet engine 100 feet away.
Under the Trump administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service could issue as many as five “Incidental Harassment Authorization” permits to allow oil and gas companies to use the tests to survey the ocean floor for potential drilling sites. The area runs roughly from Delaware down the coast to Florida, including North Carolina.
The ramifications for marine life are dire.
Read Sorg’s full story here.
For more on the dangers of seismic testing, listen to Chris Fitzsimon’s recent radio interview with Blakely Hildebrand with the Southern Environmental Law Center.
The deadline for commenting on seismic air gun blasting is this Thursday (July 6th) at midnight.
Written comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Comments can be sent to via email to ITP.Laws@noaa.gov or through the mail to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.