These battles for the environment never seem to end:
President Donald Trump’s move last week to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans rekindles the debate over the viability of oil and gas drilling and seismic testing off the coast of North Carolina.
Trump’s executive order calls for the Department of Interior to return hundreds of miles of federal waters back to eligibility for offshore drilling, areas that were marked off-limits by the Obama administration just last year.
You know, I keep hearing people talking about how Trump's problems with Congress will keep them from doing too much harm, but it's not just Congressional Legislation we need to worry about. In fact, from the fossil fuel industry's point of view, controlling the Executive Branch is probably a hell of a lot cheaper and more effective in getting what they want than courting Senators and Representatives. Hijacking the EPA alone is worth billions to them, and that's not even counting BOEM, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, the FDA, USDA, etc. They can pretty much write their own ticket. And on the offshore drilling front, making a bunch of noise to disorient whales and dolphins and other critters is step #1:
Seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Airguns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. These blasts are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks at a time. Seismic airgun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic could injure 138,000 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates.
Seismic airguns are towed behind ships and shoot loud blasts of compressed air through the water and miles into the seabed, which reflect back information about buried oil and gas deposits. These blasts harm marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and other wildlife.
Impacts include temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, and even beach strandings and death. For whales and dolphins, which rely on their hearing to find food, communicate, and reproduce, being able to hear is a life or death matter.
Airgun blasts kill fish eggs and larvae and scare away fish from important habitats. Following seismic surveys catch rates of cod and haddock declined by 40 to 80 percent for thousands of miles.
And that's before the first drop of oil is recovered from the seabed.
One thing to keep in mind: The process of testing and permitting and construction will likely take 6-8 years at the earliest before drilling begins, so making sure Donald Trump is a one-term President and is replaced by a Democrat in the White House is critical, if we are to stop this insanity.