Scientists Call For Halt to Oil & Gas Exploration Program
Seismic testing gauges oil and gas deposits by shooting loud blasts of compressed air into the ocean. President Barack Obama approved the guidelines for its usage last year. But a group of scientists is calling upon the President to rethink that decision.
William McLellan of UNCW’s Marine Biology Department is one of seventy-five scientists who wrote to President Obama in opposition to the planned oil and gas exploration program off the Atlantic coast. They are concerned about impacts to marine wildlife.
McLellan says that, while there are mitigation measures for marine mammals in place, they do not do enough:
"Seismic operations do post watches, and they do have fairly elaborate protocols to keep animals out of the area or shut down when animals are in the area, and that works really well for animals that are at the surface, for dolphins and, you know, whales that spend a lot of time at the surface, but there are these really deep divers—beaked whales and sperm whales—that we know are out there that could potentially be down for so long that they’re under the survey boat as it’s coming into the area."
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Environmental Impact Statement claims there would be “minor to negligible” impact to most wildlife, with the exception of marine mammals and turtles, for which impact could be “moderate.”
An open house regarding seismic testing will be held on Tuesday, April 7th at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside Hotel from 3:00 to 4:30 o'clock and then again from 5:30 to 7:00 o’clock. The event is organized by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.