The Atlantic Ocean is being threatened by not one, but two detrimental proposals that will reek havoc on the very body of water we have cherished for centuries. This article is the first of a two part series which will outline these harmful acts related to offshore drilling, and more importantly, how YOU can do your part to prevent them from happening all together.
Prior to any oil company spending billions of dollars to construct an off shore oil rig, they need to ensure they are building over a viable source of oil and gas. In order to locate these lucrative areas a practice known as seismic testing or blasting is conducted. Testing can cause extreme harm to the oceanic eco-system before a drill has even touched the ocean floor.
A seismic airgun, towed by a vessel, sends extremely loud blasts of compressed air through the water which penetrates deep into the ocean floor. When the air rebounds off of oil and gas deposits or sediment the information is received by audio monitors on the ocean surface; also being towed by the vessel. All of this data is then compiled to map out the ocean floor. The overall concept is very similar to radar.
Image Courtesy of Oceana
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, approximately 138,00 dolphins and whales alone would be susceptible to injury. The testing will cause severe damage to the animals’ highly sensitive hearing they rely upon for survival. One particular species of whale, the North Atlantic Right Whale, of which fewer than 500 are said to exist could be brought to extinction. These statistics do not include the many species of turtles and fish found in the Atlantic that would be affected as well. Seismic blasting has been linked to aquatic life abandoning their habitats off the coast of Africa. The massive exodus crippling the livelihoods of local commercial fishermen.
The inevitable damage this testing will cause has lead many environmental groups to organize campaigns in order to prevent oil companies from fast tracking the legislative process of having seismic blasting in the Mid-Atlantic approved. Surfrider Foundation, Oceana, & Clean Ocean Action are just a few of many organizations who are leading the charge.
Surfrider has made the action of voicing your opinion to your local government officials extremely easy. Simply providing some basic information you can send predrafted petitions directly to representatives in Washington, DC. If you’re personality is more suitable to the hands on approach you can follow the link to find a chapter closest to you.
I strongly encourage you to stand up against this action in some way. Whether by simply sharing this article, taking the 30 seconds to submit a petition, or attending local chapter and town hall meetings. The oil industry continues to push this country closer and closer to the edge of a precipice, if we fall from, we may never be able to recover.
Article Cover Photo Courtsey of LA Times