Around the world, energy companies are exploring for oil and gas using seismic airguns in sensitive, wildlife-filled waters. Two of their targets are Alaska’s Cook Inlet — home to endangered belugas — and most of the Atlantic seaboard.
Even at great distances, this excruciatingly loud noise can drive whales to abandon their habitat, fall silent and stop eating. At close range, it can deafen, injure and even kill.
-Pierce Brosnan, Actor, Activist and NRDC Member
A leading expert has called the use of airguns “the most severe acoustic insult to the marine environment short of naval warfare.” This sonic barrage can interfere with a whale’s ability to feed, breed, navigate, communicate and avoid predators — in short, to survive.
The Obama Administration has given the Apache Alaska Corporation the go-ahead to employ airguns in the critical habitat of the last 312 endangered beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet. And the administration is moving toward approval of airgun use up and down the Atlantic coast, home to dozens of marine mammal populations, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.