The Obama administration has approved the use of sonic cannons on the Eastern seaboard to explore the potential for offshore resources, despite negative feedback from environmentalists who worry about the impact on sea life.
Although the oil industry is pleased with the decision announced Friday, environmentalists are concerned about the use of cannons that create sound waves “100 times louder than a jet engine,” The Associated Press reported
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The Eastern seaboard has been closed to oil exploration since the 1980s.
"The bureau's decision reflects a carefully analyzed and balanced approach that will allow us to increase our understanding of potential offshore resources while protecting the human, marine, and coastal environments," acting Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Walter Cruickshank said in a statement
“After thoroughly reviewing the analysis, coordinating with Federal agencies and considering extensive public input, the bureau has identified a path forward that addresses the need to update the nearly four-decade-old data in the region while protecting marine life and cultural sites,” Cruickshank added. “The bureau’s decision reflects a carefully analyzed and balanced approach that will allow us to increase our understanding of potential offshore resources while protecting the human, marine, and coastal environments.”
The approval means energy companies can explore the offshore area from Delaware to Florida.
“The bureau is moving ahead despite acknowledging that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed,” the AP said.
Many ocean creatures such as whales, dolphins, and crabs communicate underwater by sound.
"We don't know what the physiological effects are. It could be permanent hearing damage in many of these creatures just by one encounter with a high-energy signal," Grant Gilmore, a Florida expert on fish ecology, told the AP.
Many advocates for the environment went online to express their dismay over the decision.
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