Last Friday President Obamas Administration announced that it has approved the use of seismic testing to explore for offshore East Coast oil explorationfrom Delaware to Florida risking the lives of nearly 140,000 marine mammals. Seismic testing uses sonic cannons to find oil and gas deposits. The blasts are 100,000 times louder than a jet engine.
This seismic testing poses an imminent threat to endangered marine species including the right whale and the blue whale as well as dolphin populations. Much opposition to this proposal has also come from the fishing industry as seismic testing would seriously impact the fish stocks on which recreational and commercial fishermen depend. The endangered North Atlantic right whale species, of which there are less than 500 remaining, breeds off the coast of Georgia near the proposed blast zone. Ignoring overwhelming public opposition and the potential for another disastrous oil spill on the East Coast, President Obama approved Mid-Atlantic seismic testing anyway. While the oil and gas industry claim this approval will revitalize the region with new jobs, it is directly threatening the tourism and fishing industries.
Doesnt anyone in the White House remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster?
President Obama must be deaf to totally dismiss the vocal opposition of Americans after hearing from more than 100,000 citizens, receiving resolutions passed by 16 coastal cites opposing seismic testing, hearing from 50 members of Congress, 160 conservation and animal welfare organizations, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 100 scientists and the list goes on.
The seismic testing is just the beginning of what could be in store for East Coast marine ecosystems. If exploration does result in oil rigs and drilling, its simply a matter of time before there is a devastating oil spill.
Although the situation seems dire, we cannot give up. If were silent on this fatal approval, were letting President Obama believe were okay with it.
Phil is a senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA. He is a recognized expert on oceans policy domestically and internationally, and has represented Greenpeace U.S. at International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meetings around the globe.