Editor’s Note: Advocates of Sue and Settle recognize that it is easier to win non-science based regulation in court than it is through the rulemaking process.
Sue and Settle plaintiffs also recognize that if they file enough suits , and if the DOJ continues to settle, then inch-by-inch, year-by-year and law-suit-by-law suit, the plaintiffs win over the long run. In the case described below plaintiffs–even though they received numerous unearned concessions– are now exaggerating the alleged transgressions which lead to the settlement. In particular there has been and will continue to be exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, operating procedures presently in effect already require the avoidance of marine mammals in the conduct of seismic operations and contrary to a number of statements by the plaintiffs, or their agents, the petroleum industry has been instrumental in the development of marine vibroseis.
One would hope that the aforementioned exaggerations will not continue into plaintiff’s discussions with the defendants when it comes to the implementation of the settlement!
See a related post on OIRA Watch.
CRE encourages its readers to post their views on the statements made by plaintiffs regarding the settlement in the space provided below–posts can be made anonymously.
Oil companies will curb use of air guns that torment marine mammals
By John Upton
Whales, dolphins, and manatees will finally enjoy some peace and quiet in parts of the Gulf of Mexico following a legal settlement that will restrict the use of oil industry air guns.
As if dodging oil spills and dead zones in the Gulf isn’t bad enough, the marine mammals there are also subjected to deafening pulses of noise fired from boats searching for new oil fields to drill. “These super-loud airblasts hurt whales and dolphins,” said Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “The seismic surveys sound like an underwater explosion, causing deafness and stress that can disrupt whales’ behaviors and even lead to strandings.”
The legal settlement filed Thursday with a federal court will block the use of the sonar guns in parts of the Gulf until the end of 2015. It will also add manatees to the list of species whose presence requires an automatic silencing of sonar blasts. From the Associated Press:
Oil and gas companies working in the Gulf of Mexico have agreed not to use seismic surveys for the next 2 ½ years in three areas considered critical to whales and along the coast during the peak calving season for bottlenose dolphins.
“The very fact of an agreement on this issue is without precedent. There has not been any settlement made with the oil and gas industry on seismic issues here — or, to my knowledge, anywhere in the world,” said Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project.
He said the surveys, in which ships slowly tow arrays of air guns through the water, firing them every 10 to 12 seconds for weeks or months, can reduce whales’ eating and keep baby dolphins from bonding with their mothers. …
The 30-month period will give the government time for environmental studies and give the industry time for research into alternatives, both required as part of the agreement, said Jasny.
The agreement should help the Gulf’s wildlife hear themselves think — and stay alive.