NRDC: Halt Seismic Blasting Permits

Today, on behalf of ourselves, our members, and many other environmental groups, we’re submitting an 85-page comment letter to the Trump administration opposing seismic blasting in the Atlantic.

As I wrote in early June, the Trump administration has proposed permitting five large-scale surveys that, if approved, would criss-cross the mid-Atlantic and southeast coasts, blasting every 10 seconds or so with noise as intense as dynamite. The impacts on the marine environment would be severe—from tiny zooplankton to the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The length of our comment letter is a reflection of what’s at stake, and of how much the administration has twisted the law, and common sense, to even propose approving this activity.

So how does the Fisheries Service justify issuing the five permits?  It starts with alternative science. The Service, applying a twenty-year-old standard that it admits is outdated, pretends that marine life is impacted only within a short distance, ignoring the overwhelming science that says otherwise. And then the Service throws in some creative accounting—treating each survey as though none of the others were taking place, so that the impacts are never added. That’s nonsense.

We’re in great company in this fight. Just yesterday North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper came out against seismic and drilling, stating categorically, from the shore town of Atlantic Beach, “not off our coast.” And Senator Bill Nelson of Florida submitted a letter strongly opposing the permits and noting the opposition of “countless Floridians.” Gov. Cooper and Sen. Nelson are among the many public officials, including the councils of more than a hundred coastal communities and more than a hundred members of Congress, from both parties, who have objected to seismic for what it is: an activity that, in the governor’s words, “would bring unacceptable risks to our economy, our environment, and our coastal communities—and for little potential gain.”

More soon. In the meantime, please go to and add your voice.

About the Authors

Michael Jasny

Director, Marine Mammal Protection Project, Nature Program

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