Coastal seismic blasting just off the coast in Carteret County NC became a hot topic in 2019 when the Trump administration gave permission for this type of oil and natural gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean which reversed restrictions placed by the Obama administration.
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Update September 2020: Attorney General Josh Stein filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, August 26th objecting to the Trump administration allowing seismic exploration for oil and gas off the North Carolina coast. The NC Attorney General says that all municipalities and communities from the Outer Banks, Crystal Coast, and beaches near New Hanover County and Brunswick County support the concept of no drilling, no search for oil and gas, and certainly no seismic testing along the pristine waters of coastal NC. Attorney Josh Stein cited deep negative impacts to all aquaculture habitats along the coast as a reason for filing the federal lawsuit to prevent WesterGeco and four other companies seeking permits to explore.
Update August 2020: NC Governor Roy Cooper official appealed the federal decision to allow testing in NC waters. The appeal was made to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Northern Division to appeal the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s June decision to allow testing. This appeal would halt WesterGeco’s planned Geological and Geophysical survey along coastal NC.
Update October 2019: A company called WesternGeco plans to ask U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to ignore objections from environmental groups as it relates to this issue. WesternGeco says that national interest outweighs possible harm to wildlife and aquaculture. An attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center vows to fight this company in federal court if Secretary Ross sides with WesternGeco.
This article will not be a technical discussion on seismic blasting in NC coastal waters, but is meant more as a place for local residents and tourist to make public comments and offer their opinions using the comment form below.
Seismic blasting in NC is the process of mapping the ocean floor looking for oil and natural gas fields and should not be confused with fracking which is the process of extracting natural gas and oil from those fields. In the near future, we will have a public comments section set aside for fracking so that Carteret County NC residents and others can discuss the pros and cons of that issue.
Many conservation groups fear that the marine food web, zooplankton, and most ocean mammals will be hurt by seismic surveys.
Conversely, natural gas and oil are still necessities to everyday life until renewable energy is more prolific and widely adopted in it’s use.
Considering all this, what are the trade offs? Is there any amount of seismic blasting in NC coastal waters that you would be OK with, or should officials focus less on natural gas and oil production and immediately focus on renewable energy?
What effects do you fear happening in Carteret County if blasting is used and they find natural gas or oil and begin the process of fracking to extract it?
After doing your research on how seismic blasting is accomplished, how would it’s use affect commercial fishing, natural habitats, fisheries, and possibly the local economy if there is no accident? If there is an accident?
According to a local survey conducted by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and other groups, there is very little support for seismic surveys and blasting as this technique is the precursor to offshore drilling and fracking. Furthermore, in every coastal county and city along the NC coast, residents and businesses are in favor of nixing offshore drilling and fracking in the Atlantic Ocean and near inshore waters closer to land. If you agree, where should the federal government and local governments focus on getting needed energy?
Again, if you are with a conservation group, an official with a company who does seismic blasting surveys, a local official, or resident we strongly encourage you to subscribe to and add public comments and discussions on this important topic using the form below.
This section is reserved for local news information relating to this technology, and we will add new information to this section as we learn more about these efforts in NC coastal regions. If you have news information on this topic, please use the comment form below to alert us.