Atlantic Oil Prospecting Moves Forward

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Take a look at this poster.

Serene, right?

Unfortunately, this scene is becoming less and less a reality, as the US has decided to move forward with its planned underwater oil prospecting project, which utilizes seismic airguns to discover sources of gas and oil beneath sea level.

The airguns will “shoot” air through the ocean waters, beginning out at sea and aiming toward the shore. Mechanisms will use echolocation to determine where the seabed begins, as well as whether or not the bed contains oil.

Testing will occur from as far north as Delaware all the way down to Florida. In other words, most of the Atlantic coastline is soon to become a testing ground for these seismic experiments.

The problem with the process is that it causes significant underwater noise pollution, which can have tremendous negative effects on marine life up and down the coastline.

The airguns can create noises as loud as 260 decibels – an extremely loud volume, similar to that of an explosion. Marine animals in close proximity to the booming sounds will almost certainly believe they are in danger and relocate accordingly. The noise will also disrupt animals that rely on echolocation for communication, such as dolphins and whales. These animals will likely have to find new sources of food and safety, and will also face difficulty during the mating process.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has made these concerns crystal clear, and is doing everything it can to mitigate the situation. Possible solutions include setting off “warnings” to sea life before the loudest part of the testing begins – giving animals a chance to evacuate the area – and setting restrictions as to the times in which the testing can occur.

Or, we could just use a non-exploitative, renewable energy source instead.

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