Ocean Protection, Ocean Energy
August 19 2013

Atlantic Seismic Decision Delayed Until Spring of 2014

by Pete Stauffer

The Obama Administration has announced that it will delay a final decision on whether to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean until March 2014. Seismic airgun testing would cause major impacts to marine wildlife and bring the Atlantic coast closer to the risky practice of offshore oil drilling, the same practice that led to the disastrous Deepwater Horizon Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago.

In March of 2012, the Department of the Interior announced its intent to begin seismic testing off the coast of the Mid and South Atlantic to assess potential oil and gas resources. The Administration’s Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program includes seismic airgun testing from Delaware to Florida, and the Department of Interior has been working to finalize an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed action.

The proposed surveys would employ loud and damaging technologies, causing major impacts to marine wildlife and the ecosystem. According to the Department’s own estimates, seismic exploration would injure upwards of 130,000 whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals over the next eight years. The surveys would also impact millions of other individuals through disrupting mating, feeding, communication, and migration activities. Finally, seismic activities would displace and cause impacts to a wide variety of fish and invertebrate populations.

Furthermore, offshore drilling is inherently polluting and dangerous, and it will not solve our nation’s energy needs. According to the Department of Energy, fully developing all of our recoverable offshore oil reserves would lower pump prices by only 3 cents. Such a tradeoff is not worth the risk to our coastal economies, including tourism, recreation, and commerical fishing, which generate billions of dollars in annual revenue on the Atlantic coast.

Please sign the petition to the Secretary of the Interior in opposition to seismic testing in the Atlantic!

To read DOI’s official announcement click here

To read Surfrider Foundation’s comment letter click here