seismic testing

Brendan Campbell/Flickr

 

President Donald Trump announced a 10-year moratorium on offshore drilling off the coasts of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina last week. It appears on the surface to be a win for concerned environmentalists, but citizens in North Carolina are left wondering: Why were North Carolina coasts left unprotected?   

Map of the east coast showing the outer continental shelf where drilling would occur.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The state Division of Coastal Management formally objected this week to a company's application for a federal permit to begin oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast from Maryland to Florida.

WesternGeco needs the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's approval to conduct seismic testing that would involve towing airguns offshore and firing them approximately every 10 seconds for more than 200 days over the period of a year.

View of Atlantic Ocean in early morning in summer, Outer Banks, NC
SCMiller / Wikipedia

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued a permit allowing a geophysical imaging company to search from the air for oil and gas deposits over the ocean. The search will be along the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

seismic
BOEM

As you are reading this, a ship is very likely miles off the North Carolina coast, mapping the ocean floor. It’s part of a National Science Foundation project that’s using seismic testing, blasting sound waves through the waters.

As early as next spring, the very same controversial process will be used by a different interest: The oil and gas industry will begin looking for places it might want to drill.

This past August, the Obama Administration announced it would begin allowing testing for oil and gas reserves off the Atlantic Coast.