WASHINGTON (March 28, 2011) – The Obama administration today announced plans to move forward in opening our Mid- and South Atlantic coastline for offshore oil and gas exploration, which could allow oil companies to use dangerous high-pressure air guns and other seismic exploration methods up and down the Atlantic coast.
The decision announced by the Department of Interior promises to do irreparable harm to endangered whales and valuable ocean fisheries in the Mid- and South-Atlantic. Using giant arrays of seismic air guns to explore for oil and gas is equivalent to blasting dynamite in a neighborhood every 10-12 seconds for weeks or months on end. It can cause hearing damage and death to marine mammals like endangered North Atlantic right whales that calve off the coasts of Georgia and Florida, and can decrease commercial and recreational fish catches dramatically.
Following is a statement from Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke:
“Today’s announcement is great for petroleum companies, but horrible news for our coastlines and a potentially deadly blow to ocean fisheries and wildlife. It’s yet another reason why we need to break our dangerous addiction to oil - not find more ways to feed that addiction.
“In coming months, the Department of Interior will hold public hearings on this issue. Anybody who cares about our oceans, our beaches and our wildlife should speak out against this and for solutions that recognize the environmental costs of seismic exploration.”
For more information on the dangers of seismic oil exploration, please see NRDC’s fact sheet here: http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/files/seismic.pdf
And see senior policy analyst Michael Jasny’s blog here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mjasny/on_the_east_coast_its_boom_bab.html