Off to Washington

While our mission is to understand the impacts of human-generated noise on marine life, we also work to bring our understanding into the public dialog to inform policy and practice. So as you read this Gwynn and I will be in Washington DC to educate our policy makers about the acoustic impacts of deepwater Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (E&P) on marine life, with a focus on the Arctic.

We will be conferring with other “Outer Continental Shelf” colleagues at a meeting coordinated by ocean hero Richard Charter. (For those of you who enjoy standing on tar-free west coast beaches viewing an oil derrick-free horizon, you can thank Richard.) We will also be visiting sympathetic Senate offices of committee members who will need our information to stave off the advances of the Oil Lobby.

It seems that even a school lunch bill can’t pass through the current Congress without being draped with riders giving the Oilmen unfettered access to our National resources. The arguments in the committees are about jobs, “national security,” and energy independence, but they are also about oil spills, greedy giveaways, and environmental conservation.

Given the current political landscape the Oilmen are collectively spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to get their way. We will be fending off their advances by providing what information we have to let our lawmakers know that much more is on the table than “The Economy.” In the case of the Arctic in addition to a pristine, iconic, and mysterious habitat, we also have some of our own food supply at risk.

These are challenging times. You can pitch in on this round by signing our petition on the NOAA/NMFS Five Year Oil and Gas Arctic Plan. We’ll be delivering these on February 28, which is the public comment closing day