By fall 2013 the Department of Interior will decide whether to conduct seismic airgun surveys off the Mid and South Atlantic coasts to assess oil and gas resources. The Administration’s proposed surveys, laid out in their Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, will employ loud and damaging technologies and are the first step in opening new areas to oil drilling.

Loud Noise KidSeismic surveys have major impacts on marine animals. According to the Department’s own estimates, the surveys will injure upwards of 130,000 whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals over an eight year timeframe. The surveys will also impact millions of other animals (including fish species) through disruption of mating, feeding, communication, and migration activities.

Furthermore, offshore drilling will not solve our nation’s energy needs. According to the Department of Energy, fully developing all of our recoverable offshore oil reserves would lower gas prices by 3 cents. Such a tradeoff is not worth the risk to our coastal tourism, recreation, and commercial fishing economies, which generate billions of dollars in annual revenue on the Atlantic coast.

Thankfully, some of New Jersey’s congressmen oppose testing, as well as 35 other congressmen from around the country and region. For more information on oil and gas drilling visit Surfrider’s Not the Answer blog and sign our petition to stop seismic testing in the Mid-Atlantic!