Progress Florida and Environmental Action delivered more than 7,000 petitions from Floridians urging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deny permits for seismic airgun surveys – the first step toward offshore drilling – in protected areas of the Atlantic Ocean, including along the Florida coastline.
The petitions were submitted to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service public comment record that was to close today but has been extended until July 21. Additionally, the petitions call upon U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to oppose President Trump’s reckless plan to open up the South Atlantic Planning Area, including large swaths off the Florida coast, to seismic testing and potentially oil and gas drilling. More than 120 east coast municipalities formally oppose offshore drilling and seismic air gun blasting activity off their coasts.
“Oil drilling poses a tremendous risk to Florida’s fragile coastal environment and our tourism-based economy,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo. “Floridians are unified against dirty, dangerous oil drilling and in favor of clean, renewable energy like solar power which will save consumers and businesses money today and protect our coastal waters, beaches, and economies for tomorrow.”
Seismic blasts have a devastating effect on turtles, dolphins and whales, which depend on sound to find food, mate, navigate, avoid predators, take care of their young and survive. “The noise from seismic air gun blasts is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source, devastating marine life, harming fisheries and coastal economies,” added Ferrulo. Five applications for Atlantic seismic air gun surveys are currently pending after Trump reversed the Obama Administration’s rejection of seismic airgun surveying off the Atlantic Coast.
Offshore drilling is the slowest, dirtiest and most expensive way to generate energy. According to the federal Mineral Management Service, hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 113 oil platforms, damaged 457 pipelines, caused 124 spills totaling 741,000 gallons of oil including six spills of 1,000 barrels or greater. And that was all before BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster wreaked havoc on the waters, wildlife, and local communities throughout Florida’s Gulf region.
“Opening our coasts to destructive drilling would do little to make us energy independent, but it would threaten our beaches with pollution and oil spills and could destroy our multi-billion dollar tourism and fishing industries,” added Ferrulo.
Those wishing to comment on the seismic testing applications can find instructions on how to do so here.