Seismic airgun activity for oil and gas exploration has been approved by the Obama Administration. At present, the Department of Interior is deciding whether to allow seismic surveys for offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to Florida. The proposed surveys would employ loud and continuous sound blasts that would cause devastating impacts to whales, dolphins, sea turtles, fishes and other marine life, as well as the ecosystem.
Blasts from seismic airguns have been shown to interfere with the mating, feeding, communication, and migration activities of numerous species, including the critically endangered Northern Atlantic right whale which numbers around 300 whales.
Offshore drilling in Atlantic waters will not solve U.S. energy requirements, and it is polluting and dangerous. According to the Department of Energy, fully developing all recoverable offshore oil reserves would only slightly lower pump prices. This is not worth the death and impairment to marine life. Testing would impact coastal economies including tourism, recreation and commercial fishing, which account for annual revenue in the billions of dollars.
The number of animals affected over the next eight years - by the Department of the Interior's own estimates - could be up to 138,500 marine mammals. Furthermore, it would severely disrupt marine mammal feeding, calving, breeding and other activities. Marine resources in the Atlantic - and the coastal communities that depend on them - must be protected.
Rather than conducting harmful seismic surveys for offshore drilling, state and federal policymakers should focus on expanding offshore wind development without the risks to the environment from seismic airguns, oil spills and carbon emissions.
Please sign this petition asking the Department of the Interior to cancel plans for seismic exploration off the Atlantic coast.
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