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Environmental groups praise Obama action on airgun surveys

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Environmental groups in the First State are praising President Obama for denying all pending permits for an invasive oil exploration practice in the Atlantic Ocean.

President Obama announced Friday he’s denying all pending permits for airgun surveys in the Atlantic Ocean.

These permits allow surveyors to use 250 decibel blasts (twice as loud as a jet engine) to search for oil deposits beneath the seafloor. 

Suzanne Thurman of Delaware’s Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute (MERR) said these blasts can deafen and even kill sea mammals like dolphins and whales.

"And behaviorally, the animals get displaced. So they get forced away from feeding grounds they have known for generations and generations,” she said. 

Because of their affect on sea life, there’s been a growing opposition to airgun surveys in the past year.

80 political leaders from both Delaware and Maryland sent a letter to the federal government this summer expressing their opposition to surveys.

It’s unclear whether President-elect Trump will accept new permits once he takes office.

But, for now, environmental groups are hailing Obama’s move as a victory. 

Credit Oceana
How Airgun Surveys Work.

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