Seismic Blasting: More Dots

March 28, 2014

Stay with me on this one; it’ll make sense after a while (I hope).

Press briefing on Atlantic seismic surveys
Erik Milito, API director upstream and industry operations
Thursday, February 27, 2014

“The economic benefits of opening the Atlantic to offshore oil and natural gas development will be felt all across the country…”


“In order to achieve these gains, the government must permit seismic surveys in the Atlantic and hold Atlantic lease sales under the next five-year plan for offshore oil and natural. That plan will cover lease sales from the second half of 2017 to the first half of 2022.”

“Seismic surveys work by recording how sound waves generated near the surface reflect off the rocks beneath the ocean floor. These recordings allow scientists to produce detailed 3-dimensional maps that give engineers the information they need to identify the safest and most efficient drilling locations.”


The oil companies are among the most powerful entities on the planet and they want the ocean. ( and (

They also want to know the “most efficient drilling locations” so they’re going to start seismic blasting along the East Coast and are busy sending out their initial public opinion cover-stories; what’s really interesting though, is how the agencies of the government, the academic institutions, and the environmental groups, all in a coordinated way, seem to fall in line to be the point men dutifully performing the marketing prevarications for these mammoth companies.

In the case which I outline below, they all prepare the way for seismic blasting along with a cover for the dead mammals and fish that will appear on the local beaches. The agencies and the Oceana “conservation” group set up the cover story of “…not to worry all that seismic blasting is approved by your trusted eco-guardian government agencies overseeing the research for safely restoring the beach sands of NJ”. More cover or diversion is provided by Oceana’s latest “report” planting the idea in the minds of the public that should you come across a few dead marine mammals on the beach, it’s those greedy fishermen again destroying life with their bycatch and destructive fishing gear.

There are a few more dots to connect here and the strategies involved become pretty clear.

Dot #1

Big Oil owns Department of Commerce’s NOAA and Department of Interior’s BOEM

“The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), outlines measures for minimizing the impact on wildlife that are especially sensitive to the intense sound impulses used to prospect for energy resources beneath the seafloor. (See related, ‘Study: Planning Can Protect Whales in Seismic Surveys.’)”

“BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau said in a statement that the agency is ‘employing a comprehensive adaptive management strategy’ that takes into account the fact that scientific knowledge about the Atlantic Ocean is constantly changing and building. ‘New information and analyses will continue to be developed over time,’ he said.”

‘The Department and BOEM have been steadfast in our commitment to balancing the need for understanding offshore energy resources with the protection of the human and marine environment using the best available science as the basis of this environmental review’ Beaudreau said.” [He’s good isn’t he?]

And as for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service’s role:   (Thanks to for ferreting out this following NJ article)

Groups oppose ocean blasting plan off N.J. coast

March 26, 2014, 11:30 AM    Last updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 11:57 AM


Associated Press

“Environmental and fishing groups are opposing a plan by three universities and the National Science Foundation to carry out seismic blast tests on the ocean floor off the New Jersey coast this summer.

The groups say the tests could harm or kill marine life including dolphins, whales and many types of fish.

The National Marine Fisheries Service [NOAA] has proposed granting permission for the tests, which would run from early June to mid-July about 15 miles off Barnegat Bay. The tests are designed to study the arrangement of sediments deposited on the ocean floor during times of changing global sea levels dating back 60 million years [Well worth destroying the Mid-Atlantic Squid Fishery].

A spokeswoman for Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The University of Texas [Hmm…University of Texas—do you smell oil?] and Rutgers University also would participate in the study.

Capt. Jim Lovgren, director of the Fisherman’s Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant Beach, questioned the value of the testing.

‘Squid and summer flounder are very important fisheries and this is a key habitat area for them,’ he said. ‘It has been documented that marine life is impacted by seismic testing. What is the point of this study compared to the risks involved?’

The groups say seismic air guns and three other acoustic blast technologies that would be used in the study all have known potential to harm marine life.” [Underlines are mine]

So here with the National Science Foundation, three universities listed above, the “other agency” such as Department of Interior’s BOEM, you have the “research of other agencies and academic institutions” as mysteriously prophesied in the NOAA flyer below (see underlines) which is Dot #2.

Dot #2 NOAA’s “cover story” and preparing us for this latest oil industry seismic blasting Murphy game: From an email received from NOAA dated March 26, 2014:

Protecting Offshore Habitats while Rebuilding New Jersey Beaches

“Our staff works with the Corps to help identify and evaluate options for reducing impacts to these ecologically rich habitats. Some options may include simply maintaining the vertical relief (elevation) of shoals and ridges, avoiding areas of high quality surf clam habitat and conducting ongoing monitoring to assess changes to ocean bottom conditions due to the dredging activity. Where we can, we also support the research of other agencies and academic institutions. Through further study, we can learn more about the functions and habitat values of offshore shoals and ridges and the effects of sand mining on these special areas.” [Underlines are mine]

Now, that all looks quite commendable, doesn’t it? They are doing the research while restoring the NJ beaches and researching and protecting all the marine life so carefully, all at the same time. However, by connecting a few dots—and if one was somewhat distrusting of the motivations behind this constant messing with the ocean, and even noticing perhaps that the NOAA article above could be seen as a field-softening sort of “Stalking Horse” coordinated with the latest stop-the-fishing campaign from the luminaries at Oceana that blames the death of birds, whales, and other marine mammals, on destructive fishing gear and greedy fishermen’s bycatch—this might be seen as preparing the citizens for what’s coming next: seismic blasting for gas and oil rigs—and a lot of dead mammals and fish.

Dot #3 Oceana was started up mainly with Pew money and Pew money is oil money.

Therefore, as this sets up, if any whales, sharks, sea birds, sea turtles, and fish happen to wash up on the NJ beach, guess where the public’s ire will focus. On the local fishing operations, of course, after Oceana has saturated the eco-media with horror stories of reckless fishermen slaughtering ocean creatures with, “…trawls as wide as football fields, longlines extending up to 50 miles with thousands of baited hooks and gillnets up to two miles long…” thus causing “Hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds, sea turtles and fish needlessly die each year as a result of indiscriminate fishing gear,” said Amanda Keledjian, report author and marine scientist at Oceana.

What’s really interesting is that Oceana was saying the same exact things about seismic blasting and the “dirty offshore drilling” not too long ago that they are now attributing to fishing:

“Seismic airgun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates.

“Seismic airguns are towed behind ships and shoot loud blasts of compressed air through the water and miles into the seabed, which reflect back information about buried oil and gas deposits. These blasts harm marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and other wildlife.

Impacts include temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, and even beach strandings and death. For whales and dolphins, which rely on their hearing to find food, communicate, and reproduce, being able to hear is a life or death matter.

Airgun blasts kill fish eggs and larvae and scare away fish from important habitats. Following seismic surveys catch rates of cod and haddock declined by 40 to 80 percent for thousands of miles.

In addition to being devastating for marine life, seismic airguns are the first step toward dangerous and dirty offshore drilling with associated habitat destruction, oil spills and contribution to climate change and ocean acidification.

Oceana is working to halt the use of seismic airguns, and stop the expansion of dangerous offshore drilling.”


But now it’s the “nine dirtiest fisheries” according to Oceana’s latest: “WASTED CATCH: UNSOLVED PROBLEMS IN U.S. FISHERIES” that are to blame for the carcasses you might find on the beach.

“Hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds, sea turtles and fish needlessly die each year as a result of indiscriminate fishing gear,”

Bycatch is the catch of non-target fish and oceanwildlife, including what is brought to port and whatis discarded at sea. It is one of the most significant threats to maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.”

To summarize:


Dot #1 Big Oil wants to get a more recent Seismic blasting survey of the bottom off of the Mid-Atlantic States in preparation for realizing their 5 year plan for many ocean gas and oil rigs.


This connects to Dot #2 NOAA’s cover story that Seismic Blasting is only research to facilitate the saving of the marine environment while allowing the restoration of NJ beaches after Hurricane Sandy.


This connects to Dot #3 where Oceana is telling you that, these days, the dead marine mammals and fish you most likely trip over while walking on the beach are the result of “dirty fisheries” and not “dirty oil” or “dirty seismic blasting”.

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