In an absolutely devastating measure taken by the Trump administration, they have approved five requests allowing companies to conduct deafening seismic surveys that could harms thousands of dolphins, whales, and other marine animals.
The use of seismic air guns will be to find oil and gas formations deep underneath the Atlantic Ocean floor, reversing an Obama administration policy and drawing world-wide outrage as the practice can be so deadly to marine animals.
The future surveys are part of Trump’s plan to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic, a plan that has drawn opposition from most east coast lawmakers and governors as it will likely harm commercial fishing and tourism.
As part of the agreement, survey vessels will be required to have observers on board to listen and watch for marine life and alert operators if a protected species comes within a certain distance, officials said, and acoustic monitoring will be used to detect those swimming beneath the ocean surface and will be shut down if there is possibly a sensitive species observed.
The protection and steps taken to help marine animals are extremely limited and none of the precautions were enough for environmental groups and lawmaker from both democrats and republicans to support the testing. On top of ignoring the wellbeing of marine life, lawmakers are criticizing the timing of the announcement which is shortly after Trump’s administration released a new climate report that he has now famously said he does not believe. Trump has shown time and time again, he will do anything to continue the fossil fuel industry including destroying local economies and ruining endangered species habitats.
Seismic testing maps the ocean floor and estimates if there may be oil and gas, but only exploratory drilling can confirm their presence. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that caused widespread death to the Gulf of Mexico resulted from an exploratory drill.
In an announcement Friday, the National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whom issued the permits for the companies to go ahead tried to explain that marine life was not going to be threatened at all.
“NOAA Fisheries is clear in the documentation related to [incidental take authorizations] that we do not expect mortality to occur as a result of these surveys,” said a spokeswoman, Katherine Brogan. But numerous scientific studies show acoustic sound can harm and potentially kill animals.
According to one model prediction used in a 2014 study by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in 2014, nearly 2.5 million dolphins would be harassed or possibly killed by acoustic sound blasts each year in the middle and southern Atlantic, and nearly a half-million pilot whales would be affected.
Six of the impacted mammals in the study area were endangered species, the report said, including four types of whales. The species most impacted would be humpback whales, 12 of which could be killed each year it said.
To help protect and potentially end this deadly practice, please write/call/show up in person to let your politicians know they cannot stand for this. As well, please sign Oceana’s petition to not allow this deadly practice. Unfortunately, the United States is about to take a giant step backwards and it is up to US citizens to try and steer the country right.