Press Release

Obama Administration Protects Marine Mammals by Denying Blasting Permits

Anne Hawke, ahawke@nrdc.org, (646) 823-4518; Elizabeth Heyd, eheyd@nrdc.org, (202) 289-2424

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today denied all six pending applications for permits to conduct seismic testing for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean. 

The following is a statement from Michael Jasny, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a leading expert on the environmental impacts of ocean noise:

“Sonic blasting causes tremendous harm to endangered whales and fish.  That’s why scientists, lawmakers from both parties, commercial and recreational fishermen, nearly a hundred communities and tens of thousands of coastal businesses strongly oppose it.  Today’s announcement protects these waters, and all they support, from needless harm through reckless industrial practice.”

BACKGROUND

Fossil fuel exploration involves seismic airgun blasting, to prospect for oil and gas deposits far beneath the seafloor.  It is known to disrupt foraging and other vital behaviors in endangered whales, displace fish, and harm commercial fisheries over vast areas of the ocean.

In denying the permits, BOEM concluded that the risks of doing these surveys outweighed the benefits. 

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