Actor and ocean activist Reid Scott is joining Oceana in the fight against seismic airgun use off the Atlantic Coast. Scott, who is currently appearing in season three of HBO’s Emmy-winning comedy series “VEEP,” will be in Washington D.C. on May 29 to join a panel of experts urging Congress and the Obama administration to reconsider their planned use of seismic airguns. The panel includes Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Jacqueline Savitz of Oceana, Commissioner Emilie Swearingen from the Town of Kure Beach, and Dr. Douglas Nowack of Duke University Marine Laboratory.
Seismic airguns are used to locate oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor. If permitted in the Atlantic, they will impact surrounding waters from Delaware to Florida, an area twice the size of California. Seismic blasting poses a threat to fisheries, local economies, and marine animals like the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.
Scott and the panel of experts are not alone in the fight against seismic airguns. On a local level, 14 coastal towns have recently passed resolutions opposing or voicing concern with the use of seismic airguns along the East Coast. An additional 78 local elected officials, over 160 conservation and animal welfare organizations, and groups like The Billfish Foundation and The International Game Fish Association have also joined the mounting opposition against their use. And on a federal level, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, as well as more than 50 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, called on President Obama to stop the use of seismic airguns last year.
Oceana argues that the federal government has not developed adequate closure areas to protect the migratory corridor and nursery of the right whale from the harmful effects of seismic blasting. Additionally, the federal government has failed to explore safer alternative technologies, like marine vibroseis, which is quieter than seismic airguns and may be less harmful to marine animals. As part of our campaign, Oceana has delivered more than 100,000 petitions opposing seismic airguns to the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. You can learn more about our work here.
Oceana will be live-tweeting from the panel on Thursday, and stay tuned to our blog for post-event coverage throughout the week.