Opposition to Seismic Airguns is STRONG in Florida

YES to preservation! NO Seismic Testing

'The Atlantic Coast is the new frontier of oil and gas exploration, and the first step on that tragic pathway is seismic airgun blasting.'

Read our riverkeeper's guest column and a voice in support from former CEO Associated Industries of Florida (who knows BOEM regulators do "not deny that the noise from seismic testing could disrupt animal life but conclude testing is more an annoyance rather than injury").

We believe the head-in-the-sand approach to environmental destruction is not a good policy decision.

In a CLOSED meeting, i.e., no public allowed, the Governor of North Carolina stated the first step toward offshore drilling would be the use of seismic testing to determine what's contained in the Mid-Atlantic's Outer Continental Shelf.  That could begin as early as mid-2015, although it's not likely to begin until later.  Both Virginia and South Carolina's Governor's have stated they support offshore drilling.  Listen to a report from WRAL.com

The National Marine Sanctuary concept is more critical than ever.

Anna Hamilton of Watershed Radio interviews Neil and Erin Handy on proposed seismic airgun testing off of our coast.

Listen here to learn more about the coalition of citizens and organizations standing in opposition.

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 held a news event on Wednesday, October 22 at the foot of the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine to discuss the applications.  The event was covered in the Bahamas and by Jacksonville's News4Jax.com.   You can view photos of the protest by photographer Walter Coker at Folio Weekly online.

Thanks to Fernando Bernall and Jorge Rivera from FirstCoast.TV for this great video of our Wednesday October 22nd protest, and to the brothers and sisters at Environmental Youth Council St. Augustine for their FB post!

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 were discussed at the gathering.  Candidate responses to our letter and all continuing news on these permits will be posted here so check back for updates. 

Hunter Miller, 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. We need to know candidates’ positions on offshore drilling before we vote!

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 a hypothetical threat, it is here and realThese 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.” 
Neil Armingeon, Matanzas Riverkeeper

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.

Thanks to a groundswell of opposition in St Johns County & coastal communities.  Locally, 15 city and town council members in St. John’s County, St. Augustine & St. Augustine Beach, as well as the mayor of Jacksonville sent  letters to BOEM opposing seismic blasting.  St. Augustine joined other communities introducing Town Resolutions, supported by 50+ council members from New Jersey to St. Petersburg, Florida.

With the close of the public comment period, Nancy Sikes-Kline, Vice Mayor of Saint Augustine, joins more than 150 national, state and local elected officials have taken a public stance against seismic airgun use.  Oceana delivered their letter to President Obama and Interior Secretary Jewell.  Additionally 160+ environmental and animal welfare groups including Matanzas Riverkeeper endorsed another letter urging the President to reject the proposal for seismic blasting in the Atlantic. 

The Director of BOEM said that they will continue to consider community input and are particularly concerned with “whether states support oil and gas leasing off their coasts, opposition from environmental groups and infrastructure and response capacity issue.”

"Our fight is not only about the health of marine mammals, including the endangered right whale, and offshore fisheries; it is about the future of our watershed's coastal communities, like St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.  Seismic testing is simply a precursor to offshore drilling, and we all know how that turned out for communities in the Gulf.” ~ Neil A. Armingeon, Matanzas Riverkeeper

With your help we will fight to stop this proposal and destruction of marine life.  Matanzas Riverkeeper's editorial in the St Augustine Record.

St. Johns County has joined in opposition to seismic airgun testing. At their April 1st, 2014 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously agreed to help protect marine mammals, coastal fisheries and our coastal communities.  Thank you to Chairman Morris and the St. Johns County Commission for taking action.

Read the statement: Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)

from the Surfrider Foundation:

The federal government DECIDED to allow seismic airgun blasting across 330,000 square miles of ocean from Delaware to Florida.

Hanging in the balance is the future health of our marine ecosystem.

According to the government's own estimates, seismic testing could injure 130,000 whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals over the next eight years.

The blasts from seismic airguns have been shown to interfere with the mating, feeding, communication, and migration activities of numerous species, including the endangered Right Whale.  The tests could also impact millions of other animals throughout the Atlantic ocean.

from Oceana  Miami, Florida – As the public comment period closes today [May 7, 2014] on the proposed use of seismic airguns along the East Coast, coastal residents and elected officials are joining the growing movement urging President Obama to protect coastal economies and marine life by prohibiting the use of dynamite-like seismic airgun blasts.  As of today, more than 14,100 state residents, 11 state and local elected officials, and 14 of Florida’s members in the U.S. Congress, including Senator Nelson, have submitted their concerns to the Obama administration. Four cities in Florida have also passed local resolutions opposing their use (Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, St. Augustine, and St. Petersburg). Additionally, three municipalities sent their own letters to the Administration opposing seismic blasting, signed by 15 city and town council members in St. John’s County, St. Augustine & St. Augustine Beach, FL. For more information about Oceana’s grassroots efforts, please see the map on www.Oceana.org/Seismic.

Matanzas Riverkeeper

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