The policy on airgun blasting represents the arbitrary and capricious nature of environmental policy in the Obama administration. Though multiple studies conducted by government scientists found no environmental harm from the Keysone XL pipeline - a few hundred miles of new, safe pipeline among the 20,000 that already exist in the area was not going to risk anything - President Obama vetoed that but has greenlit airgun blasting despite analyses by the Department of the Interior warning that seismic blasting could injure as many as 138,000 marine mammals like dolphins and whales, while disturbing the vital activities of as many as 13.5 million more.
“The magnitude of the proposed seismic activity is likely to have significant, long-lasting, and widespread impacts on the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammal populations in the region, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which approximately only 500 remain,” the scientists write in their letter to President Obama.
The administration is also ignoring local opposition. To-date, more than 300 local, state and federal officials, 37 coastal communities, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce and the Dare County, North Carolina tourism board have all publicly opposed or voiced concern over the use of seismic airguns off the East Coast. Additionally, more than 160 conservation and animal welfare organizations as well as The Billfish Foundation, The International Game Fish Association, the Southeastern Fisheries Association and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council have also publicly opposed the use of seismic airguns in the Atlantic.
Oceana campaign director Claire Douglass said, “We applaud these scientists for sounding the alarm on an outdated technology that risks the Atlantic coastline, including its fisheries, economies and marine life. If there was ever any doubt about the impacts of seismic airgun blasts to marine life, this letter should end that discussion for good."