Recommendations outlined Thursday in an environmental report by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management gave the oil industry the ability to look for new deposits in the Atlantic Ocean off the the East Coast – from Virginia down to Florida. But this new possibility for energy production will not come without its consequences.
Tommy Beaudreau, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said, “The currently available seismic information from this area is decades old and was developed using technologies that are obsolete.” To survey the underwater landscape for possible drilling zones, intense underwater seismic air gun blasts would have to be used, threatening marine life, specifically endangered whales and dolphins.
Deafening compressed blasts of air underwater would send intense sound waves to the bottom of the ocean every 10 seconds for days or weeks at a time. Marine mammals depend on sonar to communicate with one another, find food and navigate their ocean environments and the deafening blasts will leave injured marine mammals vulnerable and fighting for survival.
Matthew Huelsenbeck, a marine scientist for Oceana, said about the endangered right whale threatened by the seismic blasts, “They are like the American bison of the ocean. They deserve protection. There are only 500 of them left.” The environmental organization is doing what it can to petition against this marine mammal assault until safer ways to survey the underwater landscape can be identified.
We hope endangered marine mammals will be considered as important as energy production to the United States and its government agencies.
What can you do?
There are a number of petitions in place to oppose the government’s endorsement of seismic testing for oil exploration. Please lend your name to them via the links below!
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