Aug 26, 2014 - 2:45pm

Flipper Will Be Fine: Feds Say Seismic Surveying is Safe


Senior Editor, Digital Content


Before you can develop offshore oil and natural gas you have to know where it is. The available data for the Atlantic coast is over 30 years old. With seismic surveying, a more accurate picture can be developed of what energy lies below the ocean floor.

Offshore Seismic Surveying


However, groups like Oceana and Greenpeace would have you believe that Flipper, Willy, Shamu’s cousins, and other marine life will be doomed.

This is scaremongering. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) summarizes the science and gives us a different, more accurate picture [emphasis mine]:

To date, there has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in geological and geophysical (G&G) seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities. This technology has been used for more than 30 years around the world. It is still used in U.S. waters off of the Gulf of Mexico with no known detrimental impact to marine animal populations or to commercial fishing.

If surveyors comply with BOEM requirements, “seismic surveys should not cause any deaths or injuries to the hearing of marine mammal or sea turtles.”

Groups that oppose searching for offshore oil and natural gas oppose offshore energy development period. Arguing against seismic surveying is just one of the many tactics they use to stop America from tapping into its offshore energy abundance and creating thousands of jobs.  These groups don’t want oil rigs in the Atlantic, and will say anything to stop it—even if it means ignoring science.

The fact of the matter is that there’s no evidence that seismic surveying will harm marine life. Flipper will be fine.

API’s Mark Green has more on the BOEM memo at Energy Tomorrow.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.