Endangered species watch: BOEM's reckless disregard for migratory mammals

Creative mapmaking of a different kind:

Jasny said new information shows that marine mammals would be affected by seismic blasting as much as three times more frequently than BOEM had anticipated. BOEM’s final environmental impact statement released in 2014 estimates that the planned seismic surveying activities in the Atlantic will result in as many as 138,000 injuries to marine mammals and in 13.5 million disturbances of marine mammals, including disruptions in vital behaviors such as feeding, mating and communicating.

The main flaw is that the bureau had relied on studies done in the 1980s that became the standard for determining impacts through the late 1990s. Jasny said that’s “practically the stone age” as far as ocean research is concerned. “There has been a flood of important science that extends far beyond the limited perspective of what was available in the early 1980s when those studies were done,” Jasny said. “As the authors of one study put it, the study that BOEM relies upon is outdated and inaccurate.”

Read the whole article, and when you've finished that, compare the information compiled by numerous scientists with what BOEM reported to Congress just a few months ago:

The Record of Decision (ROD) for Atlantic G&G activities was issued by BOEM in July 2014 and it established stringent protective measures and safeguards consistent with allowing survey activity while reducing or eliminating impacts on the environment and marine life. Protective measures include, but are not limited to, vessel strike avoidance, special closure areas to protect the main migratory route for the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, consideration of geographic separation of simultaneous seismic airgun surveys, and Passive Acoustic Monitoring to supplement visual observers and improve detection of marine mammals prior to and during seismic surveys.

Balancing human activities with the protection of marine life is a difficult task, However, BOEM remains steadfastly committed to funding and supporting the science needed to better understand anthropogenic sounds and their impacts on marine life. Making decisions based on sound science, public input, and the best information available is critical to environmentally responsible development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources. BOEM, by using an adaptive management approach, will consider new scientific information as it becomes available during survey-specific environmental reviews.

Not sure what an "adaptive management approach" actually means, but it's likely more of a filter to keep out pesky scientific facts than a receptive stance on new information.

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