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Seismic Airgun Testing in the Atlantic One Step Closer to Reality
By Matanzas Riverkeeper
Oct 22, 2014 - 11:49:31 AM

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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 communities.

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 River.”

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.

HunterMiller, President 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 Facebook page.

Obama Administration to Approve Offshore Seismic Testing along Atlantic

Landmark Decision Approves Seismic Airgun Testing for Oil & Gas Drilling Off Atlantic Coast

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