Senator Edward Markey
United States Senate
255 Dirken Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Markey,
As a proud New Englander and lover of our oceans I am writing to you, my elected official, along with my family and friends to express concern about the impacts of seismic oil and gas exploration on marine life. We want to encourage you to take action to stop ocean noise.
The recent decision by the Obama administration to prohibit lease sales for testing in the mid and south Atlantic for 2017-22 does not halt seismic permitting in the Atlantic. We think it is critical to secure permanent protection from both seismic testing and new leasing for all ecosystems from Mexico to Alaska and including here off our coasts in New England.
The ocean is an underwater cacophony of natural sound from the tiniest creatures to the largest marine mammals. Marine life depends on this soundscape for mating, finding food, navigation and avoiding predation. With the addition of human generated noise from shipping, blasting, and drilling, the underwater world’s calls, whales, dolphins, even shrimp are drowned out making it impossible to escape the intrusion even in the very deepest part of the ocean.
We care about the oceans and we were alarmed to learn about the excruciating amount of human-generated noise that threatens marine life. To search for oil and gas, arrays of airguns are towed behind ships and release intense blasts of compressed air into the water–- think about a dynamite explosion underwater every 10 seconds for months on end. Airgun noise can displace whales from migration routes. It interferes with their communication out to ranges of hundreds of miles. It can displace commercial species of fish and injure dolphins and porpoises that come too close.
The federal government has proposed opening up Atlantic waters for oil and gas exploration with airgun array surveys, affecting many marine mammal species, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale. According to the Department of Interior’s own estimates, the proposed seismic airgun array blasting in the Atlantic could harm up to 138,000 whales and dolphins and is likely to disrupt whale and dolphin behavior over 13 million times.
Please stop ocean noise! You, as a United States Senator, have the power to stop this threat. There are a number of ways you can act.
Support legislation to stop seismic testing. Current bills in Congress include H.R. 3632/S. 1794 Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act to end drilling in the Arctic Ocean and H.R. 2276/H.R. 2279/S. 1171 Seismic Moratorium Act to establish a moratorium on oil and gas-related seismic activities off the coast of Florida.
Express your concern to the Obama administration about upcoming federal offshore oil and gas plans. Press this issue with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).
Thank you for your support for sustainable oceans, and for keeping the Atlantic free of seismic exploration.