It almost seems as if there is a daily story about threats to our oceans. But there are sometimes positive stories about our oceans as well, and today we get to bring you one of each.
First the bad news. Recently, the House of Representatives approved (H.R. 2231) a vast increase in oil and gas exploration and drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. Calling for fast track leasing of huge areas off the coasts of Virginia, South Carolina, and California in the next two years, the bill would ultimately bring this dirty and dangerous business to the entire Atlantic coast for the first time in decades. It would renew drilling off southern California and expand leasing in our most sensitive oceans off Alaska even though oil spill cleanup there is next to impossible.
[Click Here to Sign our Petition]
The 'drill anywhere and everywhere' act would also do away with any meaningful environmental analysis of offshore drilling in sensitive places. The fact that a coastal region has vulnerable marshes, productive ecosystems, or has inadequate oil spill response assets would take a backseat to drilling interests.
We can't let this House bill pass the Senate. The ocean is a place for whales, porpoises, sea turtles, fish and corals. Sandy beaches, wholesome seafood and clean water are threatened by this industrialization of our coastal areas by big oil interests.
Don't believe me when I say this legislation is extreme? It opens up Bristol Bay, Alaska for drilling! Yes, the "fish basket of the US", home to the largest sockeye salmon runs left on earth, would be open for drilling.
Deepwater Horizon disaster. From: USCG
Our best opportunity to stop this legislation is in the U.S. Senate. You might think that the Senate is a fail-safe back stop: Think again. There are a number of Big Oil Democrats who will vote with the minority, and we need to tell them NO!
Please take a moment to protect healthy oceans and beaches. Send Senate Leader, Harry Reid, an email saying NO to drilling in Bristol Bay, NO to more drilling off southern California, and NO to seismic testing and drilling along the Atlantic coast.
[Click Here to visit our webpage]
Ready for the good news?
A few conservation organizations announced two weeks ago that they had reached a settlement with the Department of the Interior protecting whales and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico from high-intensity airgun surveys, aka seismic testing. In order to locate potential places to drill, seismic survey ships create deafening underwater sound for days or weeks on end - hurting marine wildlife. Imagine if you relied on sound to find food, socialize, and navigate but then were thrust into an environment of near-constant deafening noise. This is what happens to marine life such as whales and dolphins when airguns are operating. A deaf whale is a dead whale, or at minimum a very hungry one.
With this victory, areas that are considered biologically important will be safeguarded from airgun surveys, listening devices are required to protect endangered sperm whales, and there are expanded protections for other at-risk species.
|Mother and calf sperm whale |
© Gabriel Barathieu