Imagine a Big Oil and Gas company has moved into your neighborhood. They're looking for oil using seismic surveys -- firing off a deafening airgun every 10 seconds for weeks on end. It's louder than a jet engine, causes deafness, injury or death, and the government is allowing the company to deafen or injure as many as 138,000 of your neighbors.
For whales, dolphins and sea turtles living off the Atlantic Coast, the Obama administration has just made this nightmare a reality.
Last week, the government opened up offshore waters from Delaware to Florida to oil and gas exploration, including the use of seismic surveys. Oil and gas companies may be applauding, but thousands of marine animals will pay a terrible price.
Blasts from seismic survey airguns generate some of the loudest sounds in the ocean. They cause hearing loss, death and disorientation in marine mammals like whales and dolphins. The government has already acknowledged that the blasts will hurt 138,000 marine mammals, including some of the last remaining Atlantic right whales on Earth.
This is unacceptable.
Take action today and tell the Obama administration: Don't kill whales for oil.
I have serious concerns about the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's intention to permit high-intensity seismic surveys in the Atlantic region -- not only because of the potentially catastrophic harms of outer continental shelf drilling, but also because of the significant environmental damage created by airgun exploration itself.
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It is beyond dispute that sound is a fundamental element of the marine environment. Whales, fish and other wildlife depend on it for breeding, feeding, navigating and avoiding predators -- in short, for their survival and reproduction. It's no exaggeration to say that allowing seismic exploration will dramatically degrade the acoustic environment along most of the East Coast.
Oil and gas activity along the Atlantic would injure as many as 138,500 marine mammals and disrupt marine mammal feeding, calving, breeding and other vital activities over the next eight years alone, including injuring some of the last remaining Atlantic right whales on Earth.
The impacts of airgun blasting on marine mammal communication are far-reaching and cumulative. New studies demonstrate that marine mammals are more susceptible to hearing loss than previously believed. And seismic testing adversely affects hundreds of other ocean species, from fish to sea turtles.
Please keep seismic activities out of the mid- and south Atlantic Ocean.
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