Loading...
BYH: Ok I'm working trying to get as close to 40 hrs as possible. A woman and a man come in seemly tryingto figure out...

Seismic blasting harmful step toward drilling

Offshore Drilling Lawsuit

Beach goers hang out at the Isle of Palms, S.C., in September. Environmental groups plan to sue the Trump administration over offshore drilling tests, launching a legal fight against a proposal that has drawn bipartisan opposition along the Atlantic Coast.

Loading…

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Trump administration on Nov. 30 gave five companies permission to conduct seismic airgun blasting off the coast of the Carolinas and other states, a major step toward offshore oil and gas drilling.

Here’s what that would look like, directly off the Carolinas’ coasts and extending over an area twice as large as California:

Ships crisscrossing the ocean dragging dozens of airguns. The guns fire off blasts that can be heard underwater 2,000 miles away up to every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day for months. The five companies would have up to 208 guns in the water at a time and would fire a combined five million blasts over the first year.

A coalition of environmental groups filed suit Tuesday in Charleston to prevent the blasts. For the sake of marine life as well as the Carolinas’ coastal beauty and economy, we hope they succeed.

The airguns are used to search for likely oil and gas deposits deep beneath the ocean floor. The deafening noise from the blasts poses a grave threat to dozens of species of marine life, from zooplankton to fish to dolphins and whales. Advocates say the North Atlantic right whale, in particular, is in danger. Only 400 remain, and the sound waves from the airguns would interfere with their mating, feeding and other needs, and possibly cause them to go extinct.

According to the ocean conservation group Oceana, the government has said seismic testing in the Atlantic could injure up to 138,000 marine mammals and disturb “vital activities of millions more.”

The testing would likely lead fairly quickly to offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic, posing the risk of a spill that could damage the Carolinas tourism and fishing industries. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico showed how bad a spill can be.

All of this risk comes with little upside, except for the oil companies. North Carolina is likely to see little benefit, and environmental groups say exploration would likely yield less than seven months’ worth of oil and six months’ worth of gas.

Legally, the case could boil down to what “negligible” and “small numbers” mean. Under federal law, actions like seismic testing that disturb or kill marine mammals are not allowed unless the National Marine Fisheries Service finds the action will affect “small numbers” of marine mammals and will have a “negligible impact” on any individual species.

“NMFS’s conclusions that the authorized seismic surveys in the Atlantic meet these requirements defy science, law, and common sense,” the suit filed Tuesday argues. Each of the five companies is allowed to harm up to 33 percent of each marine mammal population. That’s hardly a small number. The permission to do the seismic testing violated other laws protecting endangered species as well, the groups argue.

It is telling that most coastal governments and public officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, oppose offshore drilling. We hope the federal judges will take a close look at whether it was proper to issue these seismic testing permits.

The Charlotte Observer

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

January 16, 2019

Two weeks into this new session of Congress and we’re no closer to knowing who will represent North Carolina’s 9th District in the House of Representatives. Nor do we know who will make the final call on how the seat will be filled or who will fill it. Will it be the state’s board…

Election 2018 9th Congressional District-2

January 14, 2019

Since 1990, lions, tigers and other big cats have killed 24 people ... in the United States.

The latest fatality occurred one week ago near Burlington, when a captive lion attacked and killed an intern at a wildlife center.

Alexandra Black, 22, who had been on the job for only two weeks, was…

Lion Attack-1

January 13, 2019

How fitting is it that President Trump’s first Oval Office address was aimed at stirring up the American public about a crisis largely of his own making?

Pursuing poorly thought-out and even more poorly executed policies on the pretext of battling a nonexistent national security crisis, Trump…

Government Shutdown Trump

January 12, 2019

A federal court ruling in Iowa could signal the unraveling of North Caroina’s harsh, punitive and shortsighted anti-whistleblower law.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on Wednesday struck down that state’s ag-gag law because if violated the First Amendment. The…

January 11, 2019

When North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have seen their work struck down in court as unconstitutional — as they have many times — they have frequently responded by attacking the judge or judges as partisan hacks.

That approach won’t work if the conservative-…

Supreme Court Kavanaugh

January 10, 2019

Very promising news about antibiotic use in farm animals has come from the Food and Drug Administration. The problem of resistance — the tendency of bacteria to fight back against antibiotic drugs — has been growing for decades, fueled by overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human…

beef

January 09, 2019

The new session of the General Assembly that convened at noon Wednesday may hold some interesting political twists and turns. Things have changed a bit, in an important way.

As it’s been throughout this decade, Republicans are in charge. But unlike the past few sessions, they no longer hold a…

state seal

January 07, 2019

This month marks the 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion. That’s nearly half a century as settled law — yet states continue to fight to undermine it, to restrict access and to return the country to the…

March For Life

January 06, 2019

Americans have grown all too familiar with the horror of school shootings. One of the worst ever, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 dead and provoked the state to tighten its gun laws. The tragedy and others like it have given parents cause to worry when they send…

Selling School Security-2

January 05, 2019

Now that he’s entering the U.S. Senate as part of the majority party, Mitt Romney has real power. He also has some real problems with Donald Trump, which the former Massachusetts governor laid out in a buzzy op-ed in The Washington Post on Wednesday that trashed Trump’s handling of the…

Trump-Romney
86 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 9
        Next Page»   Last Page»