Monday, June 9, 2014

Say NO to seismic blasting off our coast! Kill the study, not the whales!

by Linda Baum

On June 5th the NJ Senate Environment Committee voted unanimously to adopt SR-72, a resolution urging rejection of seismic blasting plans off the New Jersey coast. That show of opposition sends a clear message as to where New Jerseyans stand on this issue, but it is mainly a moral victory that alone won’t halt the blasting. More action is needed.

The 220-decibel sound blasts -- every five seconds for a month -- could begin in just a few weeks as the ship readies and the federal permit is processed. The permit would grant a virtual exemption for “the taking” of marine life – harm and death on a massive scale during peak migration and spawning times.

Last year hundreds of dolphins succumbed to a virus, so their local numbers are already down. And now this:

Sound travels much faster in water than in air, and the intensity of the blasts means they will travel further, increasing their harmful impact.

Whales and dolphins have already been spotted migrating north up the coast, heading straight for the planned blasting zone. The mammals are present in large numbers earlier this year due to warmer waters. In fact, NOAA recently issued an advisory to fisherman and boaters regarding the presence of the marine mammals.

The so-called scientific study is being led by Rutgers University. We are told the purpose is to examine old rocks to learn more about climate change. At least that’s how they're selling it.

But why do we need more information about climate change, especially if it comes with such a devastating price tag? Failure to address climate change on a state and national level has nothing to do with a lack of evidence, which is already clear, measurable and everywhere.

(Congressman Pallone at 5/23 press conference)
A strong point made by the coastal fishermen’s association is that the marine industry and the coastal economy are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, and a full recovery is a long way off despite what we are reading in the papers. Let’s not deal another blow to their livelihoods.

And what about the potential impact on tourism? What will happen to that revenue source if there is another fish-kill washing up on our shores this summer?

There is no good reason for seismic blasting and no right time. It will only lead to a push for oil and gas drilling off the coast, another really bad idea. Do we want to risk another Deepwater Horizon?

Please get involved and help spread the word. Share on facebook and twitter #saveNJmarinelife and sign the petition at

Call Senator Booker at 973-639-8700, Senator Menendez at 973-645-3030 and Rutgers President Barchi at 848-932-7454.

For more information, visit

Thank you for taking action. And many thanks to Congressman Frank Pallone, who has been a vocal opponent of seismic blasting and a leader on this issue.

A recent article:

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