ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida - Five
permit applications for seismic airgun testing off St. Augustine, and Florida’s
east coast, have been submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
(BOEM). The Matanzas Riverkeeper is hosting a news event on Wednesday, October
22, 5:00 p.m., at the foot of the Bridge of Lions (northwest corner), St.
Augustine to discuss the applications. In addition, candidates for governor and
attorney general have been sent questions about their positions on oil and gas
drilling off Florida's east coast, and that effort will be discussed at the gathering.
Opponents to seismic
testing cite impact on tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, and marine
ecosystems, including injury or death to potentially thousands of dolphins and whales,
including the endangered Right Whale. Seismic testing is a precursor to oil and
gas exploration which some regard as a dirty and dangerous practice that
threatens the health of the oceans, rivers, and the economies of coastal
Despite 15 public forums, several comment periods, and tens of thousands of
citizens urging cancellation of the plans, last July, BOEM, with the Obama
administration’s acceptance, approved seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Seismic testing is no
longer ahypothetical threat, it is here and real,” says Neil Armingeon,
Matanzas Riverkeeper, “These applications mean we are one step closer to
testing. Our community must work to stop seismic testing and subsequent
offshore drilling from destroying our tourism, offshore fisheries, coastal economies,
and the marine creatures with whom we share the Atlantic Ocean and Matanzas
Matanzas Riverkeeper, along with Friends of Matanzas, Florida Wildlife
Federation, South Anastasia Community Association, Environmental Youth Council
of St. Augustine, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, and others have opposed seismic
testing citing its destructive impact on coastal communities and marine
mammals, including endangered Right Whales.
Local governments who
have joined the opposition include: St. Johns County, the City of St.
Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and Atlantic Beach in Duval County.
of St. Augustine’s Environmental Youth Council, notes, “This is a call to action to oppose seismic testing; it is the
most significant issue facing our community and the state of Florida. Join usOctober 22.
We need to know candidates’ positions on offshore drilling before we vote!”
Armingeon stated that
candidate responses to his letter and all continuing news on these permits,
will be posted on the Matanzas Riverkeeper’s website, matanzasriverkeeper.org, and
Obama Administration to Approve Offshore Seismic Testing along Atlantic
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