Imagine living next to a construction zone, where every ten seconds, every day, for days to weeks on end, you are subjected to loud, disruptive explosions while you’re trying to eat, sleep and function in your normal routine. If the Department of the Interior approves a proposal to allow seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic, this nightmare could become a reality for the thousands of marine animals that call these waters home. Oceana’s new report “A Deaf Whale is a Dead Whale” illustrates the extremely harmful impacts seismic testing could have on vital animal behaviors, as well as 730,000 jobs along the East Coast that depend on a healthy ocean ecosystem.
Seismic testing occurs when vessels tow airguns that blast compressed air into the ocean floor to search for oil and gas deposits, and these blasts are 100,000 times more intense than the sound of a jet engine. The tests occur continuously every ten seconds, all day, and the government itself estimates it will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins, as well as disrupt and displace thousands of other marine animals like threated loggerhead sea turtles and fish. Due to the loudness of the airgun blasts, whales, dolphins and other animals that depend on their hearing to survive could go temporarily, or even permanently, deaf.
The proposed blasting zone is twice the size of California, spanning from Delaware to Florida. Airguns and future oil spills would put many communities at risk that depend on a healthy ocean, including 200,000 commercial and recreational fishing jobs.
Seismic airgun testing is not the right step towards solving our energy needs. This proposal to allow seismic testing would expand the same dirty and dangerous deepwater drilling that caused the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. The government instead should focus on renewable energy like offshore wind, which provides more jobs, is cleaner and will never spill.
We need many voices to tell President Obama to reject this proposal. Help protect thousands of dolphins and whales and the whole East Coast by signing and sharing this White House petition authored by Ted Danson.
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.