While whales and other marine life are threatened by international whaling and habitat loss, they also face a domestic threat. So far President Obama has allowed Navy sonar testing and seismic testing from the oil and gas industry in places where marine species thrive. Find out more about the impacts and what you can do to help.

Domestic threat to whales

Seismic Testing

According to government estimates, 138,500whales and dolphins will soon be injuredand possibly killed along the East Coast if exploration companies are allowed to usedangerous blasts of noise to search foroffshore oil and gas.

The U.S. Departmentof the Interior (DOI) is considering allowing geophysical companies, working on behalfof oil and gas companies, to use seismicairguns to search for offshore oil and gas inthe Atlantic Ocean, from Delaware to Florida.

These airguns use compressed air togenerate intense pulses of sound, which are100,000 times more intense than a jet engine.These loud blasts are used on a recurring basis, going off every ten seconds, for 24 hours a day, often for weeks on end. They are so loud that they penetrate through theocean, and miles into the seafloor, then bounce back, bringing information to the surface about the location of buried oil and gas deposits.

Airgun blasts harm whales, dolphins, sea turtles and fish. The types of impacts marine mammals may endure include temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, beach strandings and even death. Seismic airguns could devastate marine life, and harm fisheries and coastal economies along the Atlantic coast.

Greenpeace and allies celebrated a huge win for Pacific Coast marine life last fall when the California Coastal Commission denied a seismic testing application from energy company PG&E. We're about to have the same opportunity on the East Coast so check back to this page for your chance to take action.

Sonar Testing

Along the entire East Coast and in Hawaii, Southern California, and the Gulf of Mexico, the Navy plans to conduct testing sonar and explosive devices so deafening, they cause whales to abandon their normal feeding grounds and migration patterns. The Navy’s own report states that over 40 marine mammal species will be impacted, including the endangered humpback whale and the blue whale.

For marine mammals caught closer to the training exercises, the pain they would suffer would be immenseThe powerful sonar blasts will destroy their hearing and even cause their brains to hemorrhage. Naval sonar has already led to mass whale strandings, as disoriented whales attempt to escape the noise.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for the protection of these marine mammals, but instead of tossing out the Navy’s training plan, it is has given the Navy the green light.

Greenpeace will continue to educate the public about these issues and provide opportunites for people to take action.