Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
A North Atlantic right whale swims with her calf near the Florida/Georgia border where whales come every year to give birth. Photo: Associated Press
As part of their challenge to bar the government from drilling for oil and gas off the southeastern coast, a coalition of environmental groups asked a federal judge in South Carolina to force the government to suspend seismic airgun blast testing, which are used to deposits of oil and gas under the sea floor, until the case can be fully heard in court. They are challenging the government’s permits, which would allow for the drilling to harm and even possibly kill of a number of marine mammals, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, which is on the verge of extinction.
The blasting ships would “concentrate their fire” on the world’s densest population of acoustically sensitive beaked whales off North Carolina’s Outer Banks
Dolphins, whales and other animals could endure five million blasts as these companies seek offshore oil and gas deposits.
The blasts will happen approximately every 10 seconds for weeks or months at a time.
The government failed to consider the combined effects of overlapping and simultaneous surveys, which are greater than the effects of individual seismic-blasting boats.
The government erroneously determined that only a “small number” of whales and dolphins would be harmed.
According to Georgia Public Radio News, the federal government could begin issuing permits for seismic testing in March. “This important issue deserves a fair day in court. We can’t let this dangerous activity cause a species to go extinct just so the oil industry can open our oceans to offshore drilling. Up and down the Atlantic coast, businesses, communities and bipartisan elected officials are overwhelmingly opposed to seismic airgun blasting. Every East Coast governor and over 90 percent of coastal municipalities in the blast zone are opposed to opening our coast to drilling – this is states versus President Trump,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana. “We are going to do everything in our power to stop this unlawful, irreparable and needless harm.”
This is part of a pattern of disregard for the marine environment by the Trump Administration. Another coalition of conservation groups yesterday sued several Federal agencies because they missed deadlines to list the Gulf of Mexico whale, a subspecies of the Bryde’s whale, as an endangered species, when there are fewer than fifty of this species of whales left.
Why This Matters: Let’s start with the most acute problem — there are only about 400 right whales remaining in the Atlantic and thus any harm to this species caused by the airgun blasts could have dire consequences. Especially now, when several new right whale calves have recently been spotted off the coast there. Moreover, sixteen South Carolina coastal communities and the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce are also part of the lawsuit to prevent seismic blasting, and a bi-partisan group of ten East Coast attorneys general, including South Carolina’s Alan Wilson, have joined it as well. Even in the heart of Trump country, drilling for oil and gas off the southeastern coast remains highly unpopular.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last summer, Florida created its first aquatic preserve in over 30 years. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve protects about 400,000 acres of seagrass just north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. These are part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed and borders other existing preserves, creating a […]
A new study has found that whale songs can be a powerful tool for mapping the ocean floor. Seismic testing done by humans can harm whales and other marine life, but by using whale songs instead, scientists believe the practice can be adapted to be much less harmful to marine populations.
Why This Matters: For years, the fossil fuel industry has hauled “seismic guns” behind large boats, blasting loud, harmful bursts of sound that disturb sea life and impair the sonar of animals like whales and dolphins.
Much as our national parks on land are some of our greatest natural treasures, marine national monuments safeguard precious ecosystems and protect them now and for future generations. The National Marine Sanctuary System encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters, and contains amazing cultural and historical resources, as well as […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.