Companies Seek Permission For Seismic Testing In 2015

Companies Seek Permission For Seismic Testing In 2015 Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 04 February 2015 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (DCM) has received consistency review submissions for offshore seismic survey activities for oil and gas exploration.
Two companies - Spectrum Geo Inc. and GX Technology - submitted consistency review materials last week to DCM.
According to DCM, "Because North Carolina's Coastal Management Program is federally approved, a number of activities are required to comply with the enforceable policies of the state's certified coastal management program - even if those activities do not require CAMA permits under state law. DCM will evaluate each consistency submission for conformance with the enforceable policies of the state's coastal program."
According to Michele Walker of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, "Spectrum Geo, Inc. and GX Technology are proposing to conduct separate Marine Geophysical Surveys via 2D seismic surveying off the North Carolina coast. The surveying will be used to gather geological and geophysical data that could provide information about the feasibility of future development of offshore oil and gas resources. The Spectrum Geo survey would be conducted during the second quarter of 2015 and would involve two survey vessels towing seismic airgun arrays. The GXT survey would be conducted between July and December 2015, and would involve one vessel towing seismic airgun arrays."
Walker explained, "The surveys would take place in federal waters, outside of North Carolina’s coastal zone. State law does not require coastal development permits for projects outside the state’s coastal zone, but the federal Coastal Zone Management Act requires federal applicants to coordinate with the state for any proposed activity that affects land use, water use or any natural resources within the zone."
Public comments on the proposal are being accepted. Please mail written comments by March 2 to Braxton Davis, DCM Director, 400 Commerce Avenue, Morehead City, NC 28557. Comments may also be sent via email to Public Information Officer Michele Walker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
According to Oceana.org, "Seismic air guns are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Air guns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. These dynamite-like blasts - which are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks at a time - are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine. Seismic airgun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates."
The sound waves that return to the vessel towing monitoring equipment are used to determine if oil or natural gas are located beneath the ocean floor.
The Carolina Beach Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution at their February 28th, 2014 meeting opposing seismic air gun testing for off shore oil and natural gas exploration.
The Kure Beach Town Council voted last year 3 to 2  giving Mayor Dean Lambeth permission to send a letter to Washington supporting seismic testing for offshore oil and natural gas drilling.
That resulted in unprecedented levels of public outcry opposing the Town taking a position on the issue by allowing the Mayor to
write a letter in support when many in the community said they did not agree with that position.
The council was later asked to consider adopting a resolution opposing seismic testing. At the April 15th, 2014 meeting, Mayor Dean Lambeth and Council members Craig Bloszinsky and Steve Pagley voted against a motion by Swearingen to adopt a resolution opposing seismic testing. Swearingen and Councilman David Heglar voted in favor of the resolution.
On January 27th, the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its Draft Five Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017 through 2022, which includes plans for offshore drilling in the Mid- and South Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic oceans.
The Surfrider Foundation, a leading non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans opposes offshore drilling and seismic airgun testing.
Pete Stauffer, Senior Ocean Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation, said, "It is a dirty and dangerous practice that threatens the health of our oceans and coastal communities. Oil and gas development in the Atlantic would require seismic surveys, drilling operations, oil transport by tankers, and the installation of platforms, pipelines, and other infrastructure. Collectively these activities would significantly damage both the environment and related economies, while exposing the East Coast to the risk of a catastrophic oil spill."
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold a public hearing at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, 275 Waynick Blvd, Wilmington on February 17th from 3PM to 7PM.

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