Applicant Withdraws Sonic Blasting Request

There’s good news this week from the Carolina coastline — a company that wanted to explore for oil off our coast using sonic blasting has withdrawn its permit application.

In a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Texas-based WesternGeco withdrew its request to conduct a “geophysical survey” of the offshore ocean floor using “seismic testing” to search for oil and gas deposits. The application had covered surveying from the southern border of South Carolina to the northern border of Virginia, including a section off North Carolina.

This testing would have involved a vessel towing seismic airgun arrays blasting bursts of high-volume sound at the ocean floor. Studies show that this kind of testing is harmful and disruptive to whales and other sea life in the area.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement cheering the announcement and vowing to continue to fight four other companies’ requests to conduct seismic blasting here. “While this is great news for the protection of our environment and economy in Eastern North Carolina, we have more to do to protect our coast,” Cooper said. “I stand with local leaders, families and businesses up and down our coast in continuing to fight the expansion of dirty and dangerous offshore oil and gas development. This fight is far from over, and our stance is clear—not off our coast, not today and not tomorrow.”

Attorney General Josh Stein also pledged to continue its lawsuit against the Trump Administration, saying, “In 2018, I sued the Trump Administration about its efforts to open the eastern seaboard to offshore drilling in the U.S. District Court in South Carolina. I commend the district court for asking the Trump Administration this week to explain how the President’s memorandum of Sept. 8 affects the Administration’s plans for pre-drilling seismic testing on the East Coast. The President wrongly and without basis leaves North Carolina exposed to offshore drilling while protecting Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. North Carolina’s natural resources aren’t just beautiful – they’re also an economic engine for our state. And North Carolinians have made their views crystal clear: we do not want drilling off our coast any more than Floridians, Georgians, or South Carolinians do. I will continue this fight to protect our natural resources.”

Sen. Thom Tillis needs to step up and fight for our coast. Tell Tillis to protect North Carolina from offshore drilling!

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