WASHINGTON—Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Florida legislators from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate sent a letter to President Obama urging him to stop proposed seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Department of the Interior is currently considering allowing geophysical companies to use seismic airguns to test for oil and gas in an area twice the size of California, spanning from Delaware to Florida. According to a new report released by Oceana, seismic testing could cause millions of disturbances to vital animal behaviors, as well as put 730,000 jobs at risk that depend on healthy oceans.
Oceana’s deputy vice president for U.S. campaigns Jacqueline Savitz offered the following statement regarding the letter:
“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are concerned about this devastating and unnecessary proposal that will injure more than 100,000 marine mammals according to the Obama administration. Airgun use can deafen marine mammals temporarily or permanently, and in the ocean, where sound is used for a host of critical life activities, a deaf whale is likely to be a dead whale. This and similar letters were sent by lawmakers recently because residents of affected states do not want airguns used on their coasts. We hope the Obama administration hears their message loud and clear and halts the proposed seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic.
If seismic testing is allowed to move forward, the administration predicts that 138,000 marine mammals will be injured and some will be killed by the effects of the loud blasts. Airgun blasts are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine and go off every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days to weeks on end.
Seismic airgun testing on the East Coast is also the first step towards dangerous and dirty offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic. It’s been three years since we saw the devastation caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, yet our government is now considering allowing Big Oil to expand into our protected areas. President Obama must reject this dangerous proposal and instead help support the development of clean energy, like offshore wind.
We commend Congressman Hastings for leading this letter and working to gather bipartisan, bicameral opposition to the proposed oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic. ”
Oceana has also launched a petition to stop seismic testing, led by actor Ted Danson, which can be found on the website of the White House at http://wh.gov/e8hu.
To access Oceana’s full report, as well as an animation about how seismic airgun testing works, photos and other materials, please visit www.oceana.org/seismicreport.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org