NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) official comment period for the seismic airgun blasting applications to kill, injure and harass up to 138,000 marine mammals and millions of fish and invertebrates in the Atlantic is over. The NMFS can approve the applications for this outdated oil-exploration method literally at any time.
This would enable the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to grant the permits for seismic testing instantly if it wanted to do so. The result would be a US Government-approved attack on the commercial and recreational fishing, as well as the whale/dolphin watching, industries from Delaware to the middle of Florida. Who needs Russia to take action to damage our East coast economy when the White House will do it for them?
Maybe such complicity with our foreign enemy means that we don’t need a military to defend us. That is exactly the message the NMFS /BOEM approval of seismic airgun blasting will send to our US Navy and Airforce if exploration for oil in the Atlantic is approved off the coast of Virginia.
Take a look at this map from the Southern Environmental Law Center. The red area off the Virginia coast is a big DO NOT ENTER sign posted by the Department of Defense (DoD) in waters it does not want any oil and gas activity. The DoD has told other federal agencies that oil activities in these waters (basically all waters off the Virginia coast) conflicts with military operations. KEEP OUT! THIS MEANS YOU!
The map also documents where the DoD doesn’t want oil rigs and other areas where DoD wants a say in what goes on. The map even shows two Danger Zones the DoD says are endangered by accidents related to military rocket launches. (An oil rig in an area susceptible to errant rockets, what could possibly go wrong?)
Oh, the map also shows fish hot spot areas vital to the commercial and recreational fishing industries. But who cares about hurting this vital part of our coastal economy? Certainly the White House doesn’t nor does President Trump’s pick to lead this war against the Atlantic Coast, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Secretary Zinke is a former Navy SEAL and always refers to his service when testifying to Congress. DoD’s concerns, he says, will be taken into consideration when Interior makes decisions about where to bombard the Atlantic with the loudest noise in the ocean and where drilling obstacles to military operations will be erected. Secretary Zinke states that he doesn’t want to harm national security.
Yet by all his public statements it appears that Secretary Zinke is eagerly awaiting the non-scientific NMFS/BOEM greenlight for him to push the button to launch the attack on the Atlantic Coast regardless of DoD’s concerns. Presidents Trump and Putin will be very happy.
Frank Knapp Jr.