Today, members of both the United States House of Representatives and Senate sent letters 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 seismic airgun testing to search for oil and gas along the coast from Delaware to Florida, while their own study estimates that it would injure approximately 138,500 whales and dolphins.
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, issued the following statement from deputy vice president Jacqueline Savitz:
"It’s been almost three years since the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and we are only beginning to understand its impacts. Seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic is unnecessary and it would bring us one step closer to the next environmental catastrophe.
President Obama is proposing to allow oil companies to unleash blasts of compressed air, more than 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine, into the ocean every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days to weeks on end. These loud and constant blasts could lead to serious impacts for marine life, including temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, and even beach strandings and death.
Just last year, 900 dolphins washed up dead with physical signs of damage to their ear bones and other injuries following seismic airgun testing in Peru. As if the possibility of injuring 138,500 whales and dolphins wasn’t enough, seismic airgun testing also risks displacing commercially and recreationally important fish species, which could threaten the more than 200,000 jobs that depend on fishing along the East Coast.
Americans should not be fooled by the clever marketing tactics of the oil and gas industry. Seismic airgun testing and the expansion of offshore drilling will not lower the price at the pump. President Obama should deny requests from oil companies and not allow this unnecessary and dangerous testing. Instead, he should focus on building America’s clean energy economy.”
To learn more about Oceana’s efforts to stop seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean as well as access our infographic on the subject, please click here.