Trump Administration Authorizes Seismic Testing For Oil And Gas Off Florida's Atlantic Coast

December 9, 2018

The Trump Administration has approved the search for oil and natural gas off the Atlantic coast. Late last month, the federal government gave green light to five applications that allow companies to use seismic testing in different sites, including along part of Florida’s eastern seaboard.

The tests work by using airguns to send sound waves through the water to image the sea floor. The waves then bounce back to deliver information about the location of buried oil and gas.

The decision has drawn controversy, especially from environmentalists who say the seismic surveys could harm tens of thousands of dolphins, whales and other marine animals. The tests have been authorized from the Space Coast to New Jersey.

The blasts go off every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, often for weeks or months on end.

Erin Handy, the Field Campaigns Manager for Oceana’s Southeast Region, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that noise from the blasts has been proven to impact “every level of the ocean marine life food chain.”

“From zooplankton all the way up to the largest right whales,” Handy said, “including sea turtles and important fisheries to recreation and commercial fisherman off our coasts.”

But proponents argue the seismic tests have been used effectively for academic and research purposes for decades. And they say the method is safer than exploratory drilling.

Nikki Martin, the President of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, said Friday the tests will have “no more than a negligible impact -- the highest standard possible under U.S. environmental law on marine life.”

The National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issued the final authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act...

Read entire article at (Miami, FL). 

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