Threatening Whales and Planet, US Opens Up Offshore Oil Exploration
ENVIRONMENT, 21 Jul 2014
Environmentalists slam decision as ‘first step to expanding dirty and dangerous offshore drilling’.
The Obama administration on Friday [18 Jul 2014] gave the greenlight for fossil fuel companies to begin exploring for oil in the waters off the east coast of the U.S., a move said to have a dire consequences for marine life in the short term and on our global climate for years to come.
“It’s an ugly turn of events,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Atlantic Ocean should be off limits to oil and gas drilling. It’s habitat that should be protected for endangered right whales and other wildlife, but instead the government is planning to let oil companies blast airguns, drill, and probably spill oil.”
Environmentalists are decrying the decision by the Department of the Interior to allow oil companies to use sonic canons to map the ocean floor, saying the explosive blasts threaten to kill or injure tens of thousands of marine mammals—including endangered right whales—and devastate coastal communities who depend on tourism, fishing, and coastal recreation.
The seismic blasting, which can reach over 250 decibels, causes hearing loss in marine mammals, disturbs essential behaviors such as feeding and breeding over vast distances, and can mask communications between individual whales and dolphins.
For more than 30 years drilling off the eastern seaboard has been prohibited. The decision now opens up the coastline from Delaware to Florida to a potentially devastating spill, says campaigners.
“Today, our government appears to be folding to the pressure of Big Oil and its big money,” Oceana campaign director Claire Douglass told Fuel Fix.
“The use of seismic airguns is the first step to expanding dirty and dangerous offshore drilling to the Atlantic Ocean,” Douglass continued, “bringing us one step closer to another disaster like the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
The move helps pave the way for possible drilling off the East Coast in the 2020s, Fuel Fix reports, as the Obama administration has already begun assembling a five-year plan for selling offshore energy leases beginning in late 2017. Nine companies are already vying for the exploration work, according to the DOI Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
One Response to “Threatening Whales and Planet, US Opens Up Offshore Oil Exploration”
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article: