David McGowan: Seismic surveys not damaging to marine mammals

January 1, 2014 

Regarding the Dec. 9 letter “Damaging drilling”: Decades of worldwide experience and research have shown seismic surveying causes no injury to marine mammals These surveys are essential to exploring for oil and natural gas offshore, and the noise is comparable in volume to the sounds of sperm whale echo-locating for prey, wind and wave action, rain and shipping operations. Seismic surveys are highly regulated under the Marine Mammals Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, and operators make great efforts to prevent potential impacts on marine mammals.

The federal government has not reported that seismic surveys in the Atlantic would kill or injure 138,500 dolphins and whales. That number, based on theoretical models, represents the number of marine mammals that might simply be exposed to sound from seismic surveys – not adversely affected. The government report, released by the Bureau of Ocean Energy management, ultimately concluded, “Impacts to marine mammals from underwater noise produced from sound sources associated with proposed G&G (geological and geophysical) activities would be minor.”

Responsible offshore energy production will bring significant job creation and economic growth to North Carolina, and baseless arguments against seismic surveying should not stand in the way.

David McGowan

Raleigh

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