US denies seismic survey permits in Atlantic

Humpback whales will rest easier without massive seismic arigun testing to disrupt their lives in their ocean habitat.In the waning days of the Obama Administration the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today that it has denied all applications to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a huge step, and one that IFAW has been asking for since last March when the Obama Administration took the incredibly important step of barring new leases in the Atlantic, but didn’t go as far as stopping new seismic surveys:

That announcement and the most recent news in December that the White House declared a huge portion of the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic off limits from drilling, protecting almost 120 million acres of federally-owned waters from oil and gas exploration is a tremendous news for whales, the planet and the all species (including people) that depend on clean water now and in the future.

In the release issued by BOEM, Abigail Ross Hopper, director of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said “In the present circumstances and guided by an abundance of caution, we believe that the value of obtaining the geophysical and geological information from new airgun seismic surveys in the Atlantic does not outweigh the potential risks of those surveys’ acoustic pulse impacts on marine life. Since federal waters in the Mid and South Atlantic have been removed from leasing consideration for the next five years, there is no immediate need for these surveys.”

We completely agree with BOEM in this case! IFAW applauds the Obama Administration for the very strong steps they have taken to protect the marine environment for whales and the rest of us.  

--BA

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