On July 17, after months of staunch opposition from leading ocean protection organizations like Surfrider Foundation, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a decision to proceed with seismic airgun testing for oil and gas resources off the Atlantic coast.

While testing is not planned in the North Atlantic, we will feel the ramifications. The surveys will employ piercingly loud technologies, causing major adverse impacts to marine wildlife that migrate through our waters and serve critical roles in the ocean ecosystem.

According to the bureau’s own estimates, seismic exploration could kill over 130,000 marine mammals. This is an unacceptable risk that would permanently devastate the Atlantic while not even scraping the surface of our energy needs.

Seismic surveys will also promote the damaging expansion of oil and gas development off the Atlantic coast.

Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to the enjoyment and protection of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches. Our thousands of supporters along the East Coast are working to protect the coastal places we all love, and we have spoken out about the five-year plan.

The East Coast is protected from offshore lease sales in the current plan. Whether we’re included in the next plan is a point of contention.

Our economy is dependent on coastal industries, which generate much of our revenue and require a healthy ocean to thrive. Oil and gas development will put these industries, as well as our region’s quality of life, in jeopardy.

Melissa Gates

Northeast regional coordinator,

Surfrider Foundation

Cushing