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Seismic Airgun Testing: What Oceana Does

Oceana is working hard to prevent the use of seismic airguns and the practice of offshore drilling in U.S. waters and overseas.  The U.S. Atlantic coast is currently in harm’s way. The Department of the Interior (DOI) is deciding whether to allow seismic airgun testing off the Atlantic Coast from Delaware to Florida.  The DOI is expected to make a decision in early fall of 2013.  Until then, we must make our voices heard: tell President Obama that seismic airgun testing would be harmful to marine life, fisheries and coastal economies.

According to DOI’s own study, which used outdated science and likely underestimates the impacts, seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more. There are about 500 North Atlantic right whales left on the earth today and they live and give birth in the area of the proposed testing. Every single one of them will be assaulted by these deafening airguns.

And it’s not only our animal friends who will suffer the consequences: commercial fisheries in the proposed area for testing support over 200,000 jobs and generate $11.8 billion annually.  Seismic blasts displace fish stocks and decrease catch rates, putting these fisheries at risk.

Seismic airguns are devastating enough on their own.  However, they are also the first step towards offshore drilling, which leads to deadly oil spills, climate change, and ocean acidification.  We advocate in Congress for clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind, rather than dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.  Wind is clean, unlimited, and (unlike oil), guaranteed not to spill—the clear choice when it comes to energy.

The U.S. offshore drilling plan for 2012-2017 does not include any drilling on the East Coast, which means seismic testing is completely unnecessary.  Please, help us protect whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and valuable fish stocks from pointless and avoidable injury and assault.