ATLANTIC CITY – On Friday, April 27, in Atlantic City, the United States Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), held the last in a series of East Coast hearings on a proposal to blast seismic shockwaves from Florida to the Delaware Bay searching for offshore oil to drill. Citizen groups held a press conference before the hearing to send the message that the only purpose for seismic exploration is to support drilling for oil.
These “seismic surveys” involve towing “airgun” arrays behind survey ships, regularly and repeatedly blasting sound waves through the ocean and deep into the ocean floor to pinpoint locations of sub-seabed oil and gas deposits. While the industry term “airgun” suggests an innocuous impact, ocean advocates say these surveys generate intense marine noise pollution that propagates over vast areas of the ocean to potentially cause significant damage to marine life and marine ecosystems.
“The Atlantic Ocean is a vibrant ecosystem that supports extraordinarily diverse marine life, which in turn supports a clean ocean economy for people that fish, dive, surf, swim, or just enjoy,” said Cindy Zipf, Clean Ocean Action’s Executive Director. “We’ve worked hard to clean up our ocean. We will not stand by while our government opens the door to Big Oil. We are here to protect and defend our future,” she added.
Federal studies show if oil was found, it would take decades for oil production to come online, and even then would reduce gas prices by only pennies per gallon.
“This wasn’t about the price at the pump – this was about Big Oil making profits at the expense of the fishermen, businesses, and citizens of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Sean Dixon, Clean Ocean Action’s Coastal Policy Attorney. “Only two years after the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf, Big Oil seems to think we’ve forgotten just how dangerous oil drilling can be,” continued Dixon.
“Today citizens got the opportunity to voice their concerns over the dangers of these seismic surveys,” said Dr. Heather Saffert, Staff Scientist at Clean Ocean Action. Dr. Saffert continued: “There are data gaps in the government’s seismic plan big enough to drive oil rigs through. Destructive activities like these surveys will impact our fisheries, our tourism, and our resources – yet the push to find oil seems to be charging full-speed ahead – with or without any idea of what will happen next.”
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