NC Aquariums sound the alarm over seismic testing

CARTERET COUNTY, NC (WITN) As a first step in the possible exploration of oil and gas off our coast, seismic testing would need to be done, but aquariums in the state are sounding the alarm over possible impacts on marine life and the oceanic ecosystem.

Hap Fatzinger, Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium Director says, "There is scientific evidence to suggest that these loud, seismic tests are detrimental to marine ecosystems. To everything from microscopic krill to the largest marine mammals that's in in the ocean."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has permits pending that would allow for the exploration of offshore oil and gas

Twenty-two aquariums along the coast have formed a coalition to educate the public about the potential dangers and hope to put a halt to seismic blasting.

Meanwhile environmental groups are suing President Donald Trump's administration over plans to conduct offshore drilling tests.

A coalition planned to gather Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina, to announce a federal lawsuit to stop issuance of permits for the use of seismic air guns.

Trump's administration has authorized five such permits, which aim to find oil and gas formations deep underneath the Atlantic Ocean floor, from Delaware to central Florida. Seismic surveys haven't been conducted in the region for decades.

The blasts are conducted in preparation for potential offshore drilling, which the administration has proposed to expand from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to private development.

We reached out to several scientists but because of the sensitivity of the issue and because of possible litigation, many could not speak on the record. We also reached out to NOAA but was not contacted back regarding the concerns being expressed about the proposed plan.