The Obama administration finally decided to give the heads up for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean seabord from Delaware Bay, irrespective of the increasing pressures coming from environmentalists. This time, the feds have decided to side with the energy developers. Therefore, Obama has approved the use of underwater blasts of sound in order to locate oil and gas deposits in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
There have been several media sources reporting, on July 18, that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has given permission to different companies to begin sonic canons and seismic airgun treatments to find oil and gas on the continental shelf (up to 403 miles offshore). In the meanwhile, teams of experts are surveying seismic activity (which is necessary in any oil or gas exploration.
Karen Graham, from the Digital Journal, said today that she believes online newspapers and sites have downplayed the seismic aspect of the endeavor. In other words, readers don’t actually know what is going on down there, or what has been approved by the White House. Sure, America might reap from oil exploration, but the airguns, sound waves, and jet engines used in the process are harming the wildlife. Graham also supports the claim of climate environmentalists and scientists, who say that oil exploration will open the door to greenhouse gas emissions (which will lead to global warming, endangerment to sea creatures etc.). For example, the cannons will create more noise in Gulf Stream, a place that is shared by turtles, whales, dolphins and other endangered sea creatures).
The sound they create will disrupt the communication, ecolocation and behavior of sea creatures. Grand Gilmore, expert in fish ecology also says that this equipment might result in permanent hearing damage to these creatures. Over 120.000 comments have been sent to the government, saying that over 138.000 creatures might be harmed.
The bureau’s decision reflects a carefully analyzed and balanced approach that will allow us to increase our understanding of potential offshore resources while protecting the human, marine, and coastal environments.” – BOEM Director Walter Cruickshank
BOEM believes that approximately barrels of recoverable oil & 38 trillion cubic feed of natural gas can be found in the U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean. These resources could generate almost 195$ billion in investment between 2017-2035, and contribute with 23.5$ billion/year to an already crippled economy.
While some states have passed drilling bans, others like Virginia are exploring the option. Sen Paul Campbell of South Carolina says that they should go offshore and harvest whatever energy is lying out there. Were this project to go wrong, it would have devastating effects not only on the economy, but also on the environment.