Lewes City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing seismic testing and drilling in the Atlantic


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Lewes City Council posing with the resolution they voted on last night … Photo by Joanne Cabry

The First city in the first state just passed the first resolution in Delaware to say no to seismic testing. I couldn’t be more proud right now to be a Delawarean, but we have a ways to go still.  Last night many of us attended the Lewes City Council meeting to speak up against the proposed seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.  After everyone spoke it became very clear to me that no one really knows anything about this.   Suzanne Thurman, Executive Director of the MERR Institute spoke about the detrimental effects on mammals in the ocean, or as she stated, their world.  When you think about it, the ocean is their world and we are merely visitors.  Ed O’Connor from Surfrider Foundation spoke about the detrimental effects that have already happened to many fisheries around the world from seismic testing, facts that have been proven.  From dead whales washed up on beaches to over 70 million in compensation paid by oil companies to watermen for damages to the fishery.  I spoke briefly about the economic impact this could have on Delaware. We have 400 commercial fishermen that bring in around 20 million a year and over 300,000 recreational fishermen that bring the state about 118 million a year.  These numbers are from a handout at the last Tidal Finfish Advisory Council Meeting.  I also pointed out that they (oil companies) would only be drilling for an 8 month supply of oil and a 22 month supply of gas, these numbers are from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) themselves.  The audience was stunned to say the least after hearing everyone’s testimony.

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Economic Impact of Fishing in Delaware, a handout I received at the last Tidal Finfish Advisory Council meeting
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After some deliberation, the council changed some of the verbiage in the original resolution and then voted unanimously to say no to seismic airgun testing.   So where does that go from here?  There are many groups that are working together to get other Delaware coastal towns to get on board with this grass roots movement to stop seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic Ocean.  Once the towns approve resolutions to say no to seismic testing these are sent to the state and from there on to the federal government.  It takes time but you can make a difference if you stick to the issues and your guns so to speak.  Seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic will disrupt more fishing and mammal activity than it is worth compared to the return of the minimal amount of energy.  One thing Ed O’Connor pointed out was not just one company will be doing seismic testing. In fact ten companies will and then sell their data to the oil companies, so there will be a lot of overlapping of test areas.  That will be seriously detrimental for any life in those test areas, since they will be bombarded more than once by seismic airgun testing.  These airguns are twice the volume or decibels of a jet engine, blasting every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day for weeks at a time.   We can’t allow this to happen in our backyard, the Atlantic Ocean.  Seismic testing will also open the door for industrialization of our coastline, which in the long run would also be detrimental to the coastline, inland bays, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fish on!

Rich King


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