Rhea Suh / NRDC & Steve Mashuda / EarthJustice – 2017-06-21 23:55:58
Trump’s Next Target — Whales
Rhea Suh / Natural Resources Defense Council
(June 21, 2017) — The government giveaway of America’s Atlantic coast to oil companies has officially begun . . . . The Trump administration has proposed permits for dangerous, large-scale seismic blasting up and down the Atlantic coast, from Delaware to Florida, to detect the presence of oil and gas.
And this seismic blasting is dangerous and destructive — scientists have determined it can injure or even kill whales, dolphins and many other species of marine wildlife.
Make no mistake: This is another boon to Big Oil that leaves marine wildlife and coastal communities to pay the price.
NRDC is fighting back, including preparing to go to court to block these disastrous permits.
But first, the administration — specifically, the Department of Commerce — is inviting public comments on their proposal. The first step in our fight is to bombard them with messages urging them to put the health of our oceans, fisheries and coastal communities ahead of oil industry profits.
The permits would allow ships to troll our mid-Atlantic and southeast coasts with arrays of industrial-sized airguns. The explosive noise from these seismic blasts is the equivalent of dynamite going off in your neighborhood every ten seconds, all day and night, for weeks and months on end.
And the impacts to marine life are devastating. Seismic testing is known to impair marine mammals’ ability to communicate, find food, navigate and breed over vast expanses of ocean.
Even according to the government’s own analysis, the oil and gas industry would harm marine mammals in the Atlantic more than 13 million times over the next seven years if seismic exploration moves forward there.
That includes the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Experts say that seismic blasting in the Atlantic may be a tipping point in driving the iconic species to extinction.
Seismic exploration is the first step to opening our cherished Atlantic coast up to more reckless oil and gas drilling. We must step in and stop this dangerous plan in its tracks.
ACTION:Whales don’t have a voice, but we do. Please speak out now to help stop the Trump administration’s giveaway to Big Oil and save whales. Please send your message to the Secretary of Commerce right away.
Rhea Suh is president of the NRDC.
Save Whales from Seismic Blasting in the Atlantic
Tell Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross that you oppose seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean — and you won’t let their deadly plans stand
The Trump administration has proposed permits for dangerous large-scale seismic blasting off the Atlantic coast, from Delaware down to Florida. Seismic airguns are a dangerous and destructive method for oil companies to test for the presence of oil and gas under the ocean. But scientists have determined that using these deafening airguns can injure or even kill whales, dolphins and many other species of wildlife.
This is another boon to Big Oil that leaves marine wildlife and coastal communities to pay the price — and we must fight back. Tell Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to reject these permits and keep our Atlantic coast off-limits to Big Oil.
I am outraged that the National Marine Fisheries Service may approve seismic exploration off the east coast, allowing the oil and gas industry to harm hundreds of thousands of marine mammals while blasting our oceans for fossil fuels.
The impacts of seismic blasting are well known. The massive noise it generates has been shown to silence endangered whales, to drive them from their habitat, and to disrupt their feeding and breeding over vast areas of ocean.
Scientists warn that allowing seismic blasting off the east coast could jeopardize the survival of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the world’s most endangered whale species, and would have serious impacts on numerous other whale populations off our shores. Even according to the government’s own analysis, the oil and gas industry would harm marine mammals more than 13 million times over the next seven years if seismic blasting is allowed to move forward there.
In addition, your department did not do a meaningful review of the cumulative impacts to wildlife before it issued the permits, and the permits fail to include effective measures to minimize harm to whales and other marine life. The truth is that the seismic activity you have green-lighted would have an enormous impact on marine mammals and open the floodgates to offshore drilling, putting protected species and our oceans at even more risk. I urge you to deny these proposed permits.
ACTION ALERT: Whales, Dolphins, and Other
Marine Mammals Threatened by Seismic Blasting
Steve Mashuda / EarthJustice
(June 21, 2017) — Federal agencies have determined that seismic airgun surveys for oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean will harass and harm marine mammals, including critically endangered right whales, hundreds of thousands of times.
But now that President Trump has ordered agencies to reconsider the Obama administration’s five-year ban on offshore drilling in the Atlantic, oil companies are already seeking permits for this harmful and unnecessary activity.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is taking public comments on the “incidental taking” of marine mammals during these seismic surveys until July 6. Our irreplaceable wildlife and coastal communities are too important to become another casualty of polluter profits. Tell NMFS to deny these dangerous seismic survey permits.
Seismic airgun arrays are towed across vast swaths of ocean and fired every 10-12 seconds up to 24 hours a day for months on end. Each of the blasts can exceed 230 decibels — louder than a rocket launch and many hundreds of times louder than the noise level that would cause pain in the human ear. This sound can travel up to 2,500 miles underwater — the distance from New York City to Los Angeles.
Flooding the ocean with noise from seismic surveys is devastating for marine life. For marine mammals like whales and dolphins, which depend on their sense of sound to communicate, navigate and find prey, this industrial noise can be devastating.
Deafening a whale is the equivalent of killing that whale — it just happens more slowly. And even exposures that don’t cause this level of physical harm disrupt these animals’ behavior and can drive them away from areas vital for feeding, breeding or raising their young.
Five companies are seeking permits to conduct this harmful seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean from Delaware to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Together the proposed surveys will blast more than 200,000 square miles of these biologically rich waters 24 hours a day for six months or more. In many cases, the same areas will be surveyed multiple times.
The NMFS draft permits would allow these activities to harm or harass whales and dolphins over 350,000 times in the span of one year, with nearly 2,000 of the exposures loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss.
At a time when our oceans are already showing the stress of climate change, it just doesn’t make sense to harm whales, dolphins and other ocean wildlife in the service of drilling for more oil we can’t afford to burn.
Steve Mashuda is the Managing Attorney of the EarthJustice Oceans Program.
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