December 27, 2017
Officials Seek More Detail On Seismic Testing
companies have been asked to submit additional information about
proposed seismic surveying for offshore oil and gas resource
development because the original proposals did not consider the latest
scientific studies on the harmful impacts to marine life, the North
Carolina Division of Coastal Management announced Friday.
According to a press release from DCM, the state has asked for the
additional information to determine if a proposed coastal project is
consistent with policies put in place to protect North Carolina’s
coastal resources. The companies are also seeking federal permits from
the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
“New studies published after the state’s initial review indicate
seismic testing may have even more significant impacts on North
Carolina’s coastal marine life,” Braxton Davis, director of the DCM and
Marine Fisheries, said in a statement. “Based on the new studies, we
believe the proposed seismic testing could severely impact North
Carolina’s commercial and recreational fisheries, and we are requesting
more information for review by state officials and the public.”
In 2015, the state reviewed four consistency determinations and issued
consistency concurrences to Spectrum Geo, Inc., GX Technology, MCNV
Marine North America and TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company for seismic
surveying in the Atlantic Ocean related to the identification of oil
and gas resources off the North Carolina coast.
Since then, additional studies previously not available have
demonstrated that the use of seismic airgun arrays has the potential
for significant impacts on marine fisheries. To better determine the
risk to marine life, DCM sent each company a letter requiring each
company to provide information supporting their position that the
proposed survey activities are consistent with state coastal policies.
On Aug. 17, Governor Roy Cooper and Michael Regan, secretary of the
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, submitted
comments in opposition to oil and gas leasing for offshore drilling
along North Carolina’s coast. In their comments, Gov. Cooper and
Secretary Regan stated that offshore drilling threatens North
Carolina’s coastal economy and its environment, while offering little
economic benefit to the state.
In August 2017, the state conducted public hearings in Wilmington,
Morehead City and Manteo to gather comments on the U.S. Bureau of Ocean
Energy Management’s, or BOEM’s, request for information and comments on
the preparation of the 2019-2024 national outer continental shelf oil
and gas leasing program.
The DEQ sought public input and information on the potential impact of
oil and gas exploration on the biological, social, economic and
aesthetic values of North Carolina’s coast. In total, 465 people
attended the hearings in Wilmington, Morehead City and Manteo. Of the
104 people who spoke at the hearings, 96 spoke against oil and gas
exploration off North Carolina’s coast.
article is provided by Coastal Review Online, an online news service
covering North Carolina's coast. For more news, features, and
information about the coast, go to www.coastalreview.org.)