Trump administration proposes seismic testing for oil drilling in Atlantic

In the wake of President Trump’s recent executive order to open the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling, the National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed issuing seismic testing permits. As many as five Incidental Harm Authorizations would allow seismic blasting for a one-year period, putting marine mammals like dolphins and whales at risk. Imagine dynamite going off in your neighborhood every 10 seconds, all day and night, for a year or more—that’s how seismic air gun blasts disrupt the habitat for these species. It can deafen whales and other marine wildlife that rely on sonar, making it hard for them to navigate, avoid predators, find food, and communicate with mates and their young. In 2015, 75 scientists sent a letter to the Obama administration warning of “significant, long-lasting, and widespread” harm to East Coast marine mammal and fish populations should the blasting proceed. Last year, a group of right whale scientists also sent a letter to the administration out of “profound concern” for the future of critically endangered right whales (only around 500 remain in the Atlantic). Issuing permits for seismic testing is essentially a license for oil and gas companies to harass and potentially kill marine wildlife, courtesy of the Trump administration.

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