Fed­eral gov­ern­ment clears way for seis­mic blast­ing off Florida coast

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Local - BY JENNY STALETOVICH

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion on Fri­day cleared the way for seis­mic blast­ing in search of oil off Florida and much of the At­lantic coast for the first time in more than three decades.

The ap­proval of wildlife per­mits by the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion will now al­low five com­pa­nies to pro­ceed with re­quests to use air guns to search the sea floor be­tween Florida’s Space Coast and

New Jersey. It comes nearly two years af­ter the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ruled risks from the deaf­en­ing sur­veys out­weighed any ben­e­fits, and it out­raged en­vi­ron­men­tal groups, which plan to fight the move.

“Vir­tu­ally the en­tire

East Coast would be af­fected by it,” said Michael Jasny, an at­tor­ney with the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil. “It’s a need­less and shame­less blow to the health of our coasts and oceans.”

Sci­en­tists have long warned that ocean noise can harm ma­rine life that use sound to find food, es­cape prey, com­mu­ni­cate with young and lo­cate mates. Sound can be am­pli­fied many times over un­der­wa­ter and travel thou­sands of miles. Last year, the U.S. Navy agreed to limit ex­plo­sions and sonar use along parts of the south­east­ern coast to pro­tect en­dan­gered North At­lantic right whales, which now num­ber only about 450.

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