CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Friday’s approval of seismic testing along the Atlantic Coast is something many people in the Lowcountry oppose.
Friday, seismic testing was given the go-ahead by the National Marine Fisheries Services, which is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Interior denied the seismic permits. They said the damage caused to marine animals and the fishing industry was not worth it.
It is now a go, and Lowcountry organizations are upset because seismic testing is the first step to potentially allowing offshore drilling.
“We are extremely against seismic air gun blasts,” Peg Howell, spokesperson for Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic, said.
Howell said the tests will negatively impact marine life and people in the Lowcountry.
“Seismic airgun surveys are harmful to marine life, the noise admitted goes off at the level of dynamite in the ocean every 10 seconds,” Howell said. “When seismic testing happens it’s leading to offshore drilling, offshore drilling leads to negative impacts on our coastal economy and negative impacts on our coastal economy leads to problems for people here maintaining their jobs, their way of life and their health.”
Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins, leader of SODA, said, “Seismic air guns are like dynamite going off every 10 seconds. It severely affects the navigation of whales and other marine mammals, as well as their ability to find food and mate. The blasts have been proven to drive away fish and harm oysters. Commercial fishing will likely suffer.”
This testing is something nearly every mayor in the Lowcoutry and local official oppose. In fact, every state executive on the coast below Maine opposed the plan.
Offshore drilling was a major topic in the most recent election, especially in the Lowcountry’s District 1 congressional race between Congressman-Elect Joe Cunningham and Katie Arrington.
Cunningham opposes offshore drilling and made that clear throughout his campain. On Twitter Friday, he said his first act in Washington will be to introduce legislation to reinstate the ban on offshore drilling.
SODA completely backs him and believes Cunningham will be a voice for the people in Washington when it comes to offshore dilling.