Obama Administration completely fails on Atlantic Seismic Surveys

Soon to be off the coast of South Carolina © Shell

Soon to be off the coast of South Carolina © Shell

Despite the thousands of comments advising against opening up the Atlantic Seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, today President Obama approved opening up the Eastern Outer Continental Shelf to seismic airgun surveys. As we highlighted in our recent critique of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) this is the gateway to opening up the east coast from Florida to Delaware to fossil fuel extraction.

In our 2012 critique of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) we pointed out that many of the propagation models were inadequate, and that they had not included the most current literature on noise-induced stress and behavioral impacts. Normally these and other public comments would be taken under review and addressed in the Final PEIS – which would serve as the Record of Decision.

But in this case the Final PEIS was modified to such degree that it ushered forth a second public review. In reviewing this Final PEIS it seems as if the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) went back to the oilmen and asked them what they really wanted and included their modified action plans to accomodate. There were shortcomings in the PEIS as well; many of our 2012 comments were not satisfactorily addressed, and the new noise exposure guidelines that should have been used for the PEIS had not even been approved by the regulatory agencies.

It appears from the way these documents fell on the calendar that BOEM wanted to get the PEIS complete and approved before any new noise guidelines could be implemented.

The undercurrent to all of this is of course the oncoming climate disaster. While we don’t typically include editorial comments on our EIS reviews, in the case of the 2104 PEIS I couched the locus of the critique with “Continuing to place the future of our civilization in the hands of private global energy interests is the epitome of madness.”

It is a sad day for the ocean, and it illustrates how deeply our nation’s governance is infested with fossil fuel disease.

Please contact the Whitehouse and express yourself.