The Bureau of Land Management on Friday released a proposal to begin a seismic survey in December that would look for underground signs of oil reserves over more than half a million acres on the east side of the refuge’s coastal plain. The Bureau said it would accept public comments on the plan, which was proposed by an Alaska Native village corporation, for 14 days before deciding whether to issue a permit.
In June 2017, NOAA Fisheries published proposed whale protections for the surveys. By winter the division’s biologists saw a problem: The protections for the North Atlantic right whale were too weak and put airguns in their direct path.
The agency had proposed a seasonal ban on using airguns up to 47 kilometers (about 29 miles) from shore between November and April, when the whales were known to migrate and give birth along the mid- and south-Atlantic coast.
But peer-reviewed research led by a NOAA Fisheries analyst concluded the whales were traveling farther from shore than ever before — and directly into the path of the proposed survey activity. A draft report for the Navy reached a similar conclusion.
Seismic blasting used in oil exploration can reach 250 decibels and be heard for miles. It can cause hearing loss, disorientation and disturb essential marine mammal behaviors such as feeding and breeding. Just over 300 Cook Inlet beluga whales are left after four more washed up dead in Cook Inlet in the past two weeks.
Recently, Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) blasted a Trump official with an air horn. During a House committee hearing on the environmental impact of seismic airgun testing, the official claimed the practice isn’t disruptive to marine animals. That’s when Cunningham pulled… Read More ›
For decades, the U.S. military routinely dumped thousands of tons of obsolete, excess and captured munitions into U.S. coastal waters, thinking the high seas were the best place for the materials to safely decompose. The Atomic Energy Commission likewise oversaw the ocean dumping of untold thousands of drums of low-level radioactive waste from the nation’s manufacturing, research, medical and military sectors.
March 5, 2015 Washington, D.C. — Today, 75 of the foremost marine scientists from world-class institutions including Duke, Cornell, the New England Aquarium, Stanford, and the University of North Carolina, sent a letter to the Obama Administration warning of the… Read More ›
WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies hoping to drill in the Atlantic Ocean will have to contend with a new federal proposal to declare waters off the Carolinas and Georgia as critical for endangered whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric… Read More ›
Editor’s Note: Do you have an opinion about seismic exploration and marine mammals? Recent studies have shown negative impacts on the hearing of marine mammals in waters where the blasts of seismic testing has been implemented. Other research shows no… Read More ›
From Seattle PI.com New Zealanders are reacting with concern and outrage to the recent tragic death of nine orcas who stranded on their shoreline this week (International Dolphin and Whale Stranding Network), but also with touching compassion. A Southland woman… Read More ›
This week in ocean news: Stories from Los Angeles Times, CBC News, Pew Environment Group, Bloomberg Businessweek, LiveScience, and Science Daily.