BOEM rejects Atlantic G&G permits

Guest post by David Middleton

BOEM rejects Atlantic G&G permits amidst industry criticism

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. and HOUSTON – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has denied six pending geophysical and geological permit applications to conduct airgun seismic surveys in the mid- and south planning areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

The bureau said that the decision is based on a number of factors, including a diminished need for additional seismic survey information because the Atlantic program area has been removed from the 2017-2022 outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing program.

“In the present circumstances and guided by an abundance of caution, we believe that the value of obtaining the geophysical and geological information from new airgun seismic surveys in the Atlantic does not outweigh the potential risks of those surveys’ acoustic pulse impacts on marine life,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “Since federal waters in the mid- and south Atlantic have been removed from leasing consideration for the next five years, there is no immediate need for these surveys.”

International Association of Geophysical Contractors President Nikki Martin, National Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi, and API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito all responded swiftly via statements to decry the decision.

Martin said it “demonstrates the administration’s continued lack of accountability to the American people. It is also one of many recent and rushed attempts to cater to extreme environmentalists in the last days of the administration, substituting politics for science.”

Luthi said: “This decision continues the Obama administration’s dismissal of scientifically-backed offshore policies and ignores the fact that seismic and other geophysical surveys have been safely conducted offshore in the US and around the world for more than 50 years.”

Milito said the announcement was the latest example of the current administration “completely disregarding America’s energy security needs and contradicts the will of the majority of Americans who support increased production of oil and natural gas.”


Offshore Magazine

The Atlantic Ocean outer continental shelf is covered with 2d and 3d seismic data from the Gulf of Mexico, to Baffin Bay and the North Sea with one big gap: The United States east coast.  Here’s a link to one geophysical contractor’s (TGS) geological and geophysical data coverage in the Atlantic Ocean.  The absence of data on the US Atlantic OCS is as conspicuous as it is ridiculous.

Marine seismic surveys are conducted with overwhelming sensitivity to marine life, particularly cetaceans and the site clearance surveys which will have to be performed for politically favored (at least for another 11 days) offshore wind farms will employ the same sort of airgun sources that would be used for 2d and 3d seismic surveys.  So the environmental argument is garbage.

The fact that the Atlantic OCS was withdrawn from the current 5-year leasing plan (which will almost certainly be revised this year) is no reason to not conduct the surveys.  Without modern seismic data, there’s no way to evaluate the potential of these areas.  The existing data consist of >40-yr old and very sparse 2d surveys shot in the 1970’s.  This bit is truly ridiculous:

The BOEM said that additional factors leading to the denials include the possibility that the information would not be used if the Atlantic is not offered for future oil and gas leasing; the acquired data may become outdated if leasing is far in the future; and the probable development of lower impact survey technology before future geophysical and geological information would be needed.

This is akin to saying that ANWR Area 1002 should not be opened because it won’t be brought on production the moment the area is opened.


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122 thoughts on “BOEM rejects Atlantic G&G permits

    • Isn’t BOEM one of those non-essential agencies, scheduled to be axed, as soon as President elect Trump is sworn into office, and taking an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies; foreign and especially these domestic enemies ??

      • Good fracking grief…
        Over the past 50 years, we’ve shot airgun surveys over the outer continental shelf of just about the entire planet and there is absolutely no evidence that marine life was harmed in any way, shape, fashion or form.
        The noise pollution from airguns is well-within the natural transient range and less than most other anthropogenic sources.

        • David,
          Since the 70’s you have used the same tools – isn’t time to take all that knowledge and turn it into insight?

      • The very fact that they are charged with ruling on permits says that permits are allowed. It is NOT up to BOEM to say that permits are NOT allowed. It seems like another case of, “Do your friggin’ job!”
        If there is a reason that a particular application should fail, then explain what the application lacked.

    • See:
      The documentary points out an obvious design flaw. Humans never considered the impact of noise pollution on sea life.
      I highly recommend viewing the full film. It’s Very disturbing given that alternative methods for exploration currently exist. Air guns shouldn’t be used.

      • Sorry, the full film isn’t available online. For some idiotic reason, it’s only available via live screenings. It’s no longer available via Amazon Prime etc.

      • Sheri,
        Google search: offshore turbines and noise pollution
        There are a number of studies highlighting noise pollution from construction practices.

      • There are no “alternative methods” to acquire marine seismic data and the “noise pollution” is extremely minimal and temporary.

      • David,
        “In January 2015 scientists at Stanford University announced that a new technique had been developed that has several advantages over seismic surveys. The technique, called ambient seismic field noise-correlation tomography, or ASNT, uses sensors embedded in the seafloor. The sensors, which are typically installed by robotic submersibles, are connected to one another by cables and arranged into parallel rows that can span several kilometers of the seafloor. Another cable connects the sensor array to a platform in order to collect data in real time. The sensors record ambient seismic waves traveling through Earth’s crust. The waves are ubiquitous, continuously generated and traveling in every direction, but using careful signal-processing schemes they developed, the scientists can digitally isolate only those waves that are passing through one sensor and then another one downstream. When this is done repeatedly, and for multiple sensors in the network, what emerges is a “virtual” seismic wave pattern that is remarkably similar to the kind generated by air guns. Because the ASNT technique is entirely passive, meaning it does not require a controlled explosion or a loud air gun blast to create a seismic wave signature, it can be performed for a fraction of the cost of an active-reflection-seismology survey and should be far less disruptive to marine life, the scientists say.”

      • There are no platforms on the Atlantic OCS. “Ambient seismic field noise-correlation tomography, or ASNT” is a tool that may eventually use ambient noise around a production platform to generate limited 4d seismic data for reservoir performance analyses. These sorts of surveys are only useful in fixed locations.
        ASNT is totally useless for exploration…

        We have shown remarkable repeatability of Scholte wave group velocity maps of the overburden at the Valhall Field. We correlate for mere 24 h to retrieve high-quality EGFs suitable for ambient seismic noise tomography. Images of Scholte wave group velocities obtained using ASNT correspond well with maps of P wave velocities obtained from controlled-source seismic acquisition and full waveform inversion. Features as deep as 200 m below the seafloor can be identified from group velocity maps in a frequency range of 0.55–1.15 Hz. Further studies of recordings separated by months are necessary to distinguish long-term changes from daily fluctuations. Careful benchmarking of quality control in the ASNT process could potentially stabilize the daily images such that short-term changes can be reliably identified. Imaging and inversion of EGFs are not limited to ASNT, and more sophisticated inversion methodologies can be developed for virtual seismic sources sampled using dense local receiver arrays. A wide range of practices, including CO2 sequestration projects, might benefit from successful monitoring by seismic interferometry.

        This tool may one day be useful for reservoir performance monitoring; but it is only currently capable of providing a limited seismic investigation at shallow depths below the seafloor.

      • J,
        ASNT is not an alternative.
        Neither is marine vibroseis.
        Vibroseis is a coupled source. The vibrator pad has to be firmly coupled to the surface; which would have to be the seafloor.
        The depth of investigation is dependent on 1) the amplitude of the seismic source and 2) the duration of recording.
        The only alternative to airguns is dynamite, depth charges and other explosive sources.

      • How long does it take to obtain data this way? How much does it cost to embed the sensors in an array in the sea floor? How long are they required to be operational to “tease-out” the data from the noise?
        I suspect once you have answered these questions you will already know the answer to the initial question. “Why are we using air guns?”

      • rocketscientist January 9, 2017 at 2:09 pm
        How long does it take to obtain data this way? How much does it cost to embed the sensors in an array in the sea floor? How long are they required to be operational to “tease-out” the data from the noise?
        I suspect once you have answered these questions you will already know the answer to the initial question. “Why are we using air guns?”

        Seafloor nodes can and are used in conventional airgun surveys. It’s more expensive than towed streamers, particularly in deeper waters; where the ROV’s have to be used to place the nodes… But if does provide for full waveform acquisition and is very amenable to full-azimuth illumination.
        The ambient noise collection J McClure brought up is useless for anything more than investigating a few hundred feet below a fixed platform.

      • Hi David,
        “Electro-mechanical marine vibrators can operate close to the sea-bed and accomplish increased penetration and offer the opportunity to reduce the peak sound levels introduced into the water column, while tuning the frequencies transmitted to exactly the band-width required for operations. By using a sweep instead of an impulse source, the peak levels of sound generated can be reduced by 30 dB. This is done by spreading out the energy over time. A sweep that is 10 seconds has the same amplitude, after correlation, which a short 40 millisecond pulse generated by the air gun has. However, more research is needed to fully understand how to implement these sequences in an effective and optimized way.”
        I think this was the proposed Sonic Sea alternative to Air Guns.

      • I stand by my statement Industrial Design:
        The documentary points out an obvious design flaw. Humans never considered the impact of noise pollution on sea life.
        This is as obvious as the “light of day”. Tragically, their light is your polluted sound!!!

      • David,
        The 1st rule in Design, …in an insightful way to meet the True Needs of the end user.
        Why aren’t You capable of hearing Whale Song Meaning in your “proofs”?
        Insightful way….is the promise insight

      • I love whales and all other cetaceans as much or more than anyone else. I rank them right up there with dogs & horses, a notch above humans…. but there is no evidence that airguns have ever harmed any whales and there is no source, other than explosives, that can replace airguns in marine seismic survrys.

      • Hey David,
        That wasn’t the point – the point was – is there a better way to scope the sea floor without destroying sea life for miles in all directions!

      • J… Firstly, we aren’t trying to “scope the seafloor.”
        Secondly, we are trying to image structural geology, stratigraphy and fluid content of rocks up to 30,000′ feet below the seafloor. Apart from explosive sources, only airguns can provide an adequate seismic source to do this.

        Marine mammals close to underwater detonations of high explosive can be killed or severely injured, and the auditory organs are especially susceptible to injury (Ketten et al., 1993; Ketten, 1995). Airgun pulses are less energetic and their peak amplitudes have slower rise times. To date, there is no evidence that serious injury, death, or stranding by marine mammals can occur from exposure to airgun pulses, even in the case of large airgun arrays. Additionally, Hilcorp’s project will use low-intensity sonar equipment in shallow water. NMFS does not expect any marine mammals will incur injury or mortality in the shallow waters off Beaufort Sea or strand as a result of the proposed geohazard survey.

      • David,
        These organisms big to small were not exposed to knuckel-head exploration before You and some foolish enterprise decided it was a “Swell Idea”.
        The entire dialogue is ass backwards.
        – destroy our oceans and mankind dies
        – destroy the ability of Ocean organisms to survive and mankind dies
        – etc..
        Are you Nuts, the point is Insight!

      • Good fracking grief…
        Over the past 50 years, we’ve shot airgun surveys over the outer continental shelf of just about the entire planet and there is absolutely no evidence that marine life was harmed in any way, shape, fashion or form.
        The noise pollution from airguns is well-within the natural transient range and less than most other anthropogenic sources.

      • David,
        …is well within …
        So, in 1965, the Mercury Outboard Motor company on Lake Michigan was dumping Mercury into Lake Michigan as a byproduct of their “insightful” manfucturing.
        When, Lake Michigan Federation, a regional group of concerned neighbors in Chicago – new environmentalists, flagged cancer in children downstream – the company’s answer was, “the law allows it”.
        When everyone destroys life in the Oceans without “insight”….

      • David, give it up. You are dealing with an uneducated troll who has been completely blinded by his own sense of self righteousness.

      • LOL!!!
        His pen & phone will be in high gear right up until Trump finishes taking his oath!

      • (he can still do a lot of damage in 12 hours …)
        Did you mean a LOT more damage…
        Obama is the most vindictive president ever, and is issuing many more proclamations including more BOOTS on the ground in Syria and Iraq, firing at Iranian boats, sending troops to the Russian border, etc, etc. in the last says of his reign.
        As I see it Obama is trying to mess up more things for Trump to straighten out in his first 90 days.

      • Well he’s the first President of the USA to be born in the USA of a mohammedan father, and raised in Indonesia by a mohammedan step father.
        So he was taught that laws such as the United States Constitution stipulates or restricts, are contrary to the teachings of the quran, and hence are heretical and to be expunged.
        So that’s what he has been doing for eight years less 11 days.

  1. I just can’t understand the mentality of these people standing up and waving a large flag with the words “Here! Me! Over here … fire me!” Written on it.

    • …that’s the irony of the whole Obama Administration: They’re acting like they live in an irrational universe where a pen or a phone dictates the laws of physics, thermodynamics, social order, and the universe.
      My gosh, it will be nice to see those idiots finally vanquished.

  2. This is the same Atlantic region that Obama was promising to open up in return for closing other regions. What a sleaze job.

  3. “the acquired data may become outdated …”
    Maybe in a million years, if those darn seafloor rocks keep movin’ around.

    • The data will become outdated because acquisition and processing methods continue to improve. However, the data won’t become outdated for decades. 3d data shot in the 1990’s are still very useful and can be reprocessed as data processing methods improve. Sparse marine 2d data shot in the 1970’s are not particularly useful.

    • Why should the BOEM be concerned.
      All that is needed is a model derived from homogenised corrected data and it will be good to go anyway.

  4. When I took a geophysics course on seismics many years ago, we used three 2-D lines from Exxon taken from the Baltimore Canyon off New Jersey. Exxon had analyzed the data and reported that there was no petroleum present, only gas, and the company was only interested in petroleum at the time. Without good seismics, we cannot map the continental shelf and rise From a scientific mapping view, this rejection of new surveys hampers exploration and knowledge that is important for a number of topics such as the effect of storms, sea level changes, and the geology of these areas. Very short sighted decision because so much of our coastal mapping (which is very expensive) has been done by the private sector.

    • The wells drilled in the 1970’s and early 1980’s did encounter a few oil shows; however the general consensus is that the Atlantic OCS is likely to be more gas-prone than oil-prone. However, there simply isn’t enough data to know for sure.

      • In many ways, I would think that Gas could be preferable to Oil. It doesn’t seep into or spill onto waters causing a thick sludge or Tar Balls. It has almost the same energy quotient. It requires ZERO refining before it can be utilized. It can be and currently is used as Fuel for autos and/or electric generation as well as cooking and heating.

      • If natural gas was selling for $20/mcf at the wellhead, it would be preferable to oil, otherwise no.

      • “No refining, but purification is still required, such as removing CO2 and water vapor.” The may reason to have a gas plant is to remove the sulfur, Sulfur is what makes a lot of gas well worthless wells produce more H2S than that needs to be pulled out, at a certain point it the amount of H2S is so high using the gas is not worth the effort. The resulting acid is also hell on pipes.

      • Agree that the consensus at the time was that the Atlantic OCS tended toward gas, though we also found that many of the known potential source rocks were immature. Because we only had coarse grids of 2D seismic data to work with, it was virually impossible to identify deeper, potentially mature source rocks and conduct reasonable petroleum system analyses of the region.
        Acquisition of modern 3D seismic datasets would certainly go a long way to rectify those problems as well as provide a much better volume of data that could be utilized to address questions / issues beyond the O&G industry.
        Though a bit outdated, a colleague – Norm Cooper – put together an instructive illustration of the value of HD3D seismic data. It can be viewed at:

  5. “probable development of lower impact survey technology” – maybe not, seismic receiver technology has changed significantly in the past 20 years, however the source technology (airguns) has changed very little in comparison. There just isn’t much else you can do to create acoustical energy in deep water.
    Mathematically, sources and receivers are largely interchangeable. On land, receivers are cheap and sources (vibrators or explosives) are expensive. It’s the opposite in deep water marine. Since you are receiver-limited in deep water whether using towed streamer, ocean bottom cable, or autonomous nodes, efforts to acquire state-of-the art wide azimuth and long-offset surveys will require the use of more airgun sources not less.

    • I suppose at some point in the distant future, submarine Vibroseis © “trucks” may be able to put the source right on the seafloor and avoid propagating low-frequency sound waves through the water column… But this would probably open a whole different set of environMental objections… 🙂

      • I’m not sure how you would get decent coupling on a soft, silty bottom. Also, they would have to be massive given the water displacement, and able to work at extremely high pressure, and… sounds pretty expensive and maybe not even an optimal solution.

  6. This should be the title of the organization under Obama
    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Mis-Management (BOEMM)
    Also one needs to keep in mind that when Obama was in congress he had a bill to ban all seismic and other research methods to determine the potential for fossil fuel energy off the coast of the USA. What do you expect?

    • It used to be the Minerals Management Service (MMS)… Because the enabling legislation was for the purpose of developing mineral resources…

      1332. Congressional declaration of policy
      It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that—
      (1) the subsoil and seabed of the outer Continental Shelf appertain to the United States and are subject to
      its jurisdiction, control, and power of disposition as provided in this subchapter;
      (2) this subchapter shall be construed in such a manner that the character of the waters above the outer
      Continental Shelf as high seas and the right to navigation and fishing therein shall not be affected;
      (3) the outer Continental Shelf is a vital national resource reserve held by the Federal Government for the
      public, which should be made available for expeditious and orderly development, subject to environmental
      , in a manner which is consistent with the maintenance of competition and other national needs;
      (4) since exploration, development, and production of the minerals of the outer Continental Shelf will have
      significant impacts on coastal and non-coastal areas of the coastal States
      , and on other affected States, and,
      in recognition of the national interest in the effective management of the marine, coastal, and human

      In the aftermath of Macondo, the Obama maladministration reorganized the MMS into the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, “Boam”) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE, “Bessy”). Note that “minerals” was replaced with “energy.”

  7. David, I remember working some pretty crude marine vibroseis data for one of the GOM OCS sales in the early 70’s. Not much penetration…

  8. We need to get rid of these incompetents. It would take at least five years to analyze the data and prepare to drill offshore. Politics. Sheez.

  9. After 35+ years in the seismic industry I wish I had a nickle for every time someone brought up the dangers of airguns to marine life. I’d be retired already. The Gulf of Mexico is probably the most explored body of water on the planet and marine life abounds. If seismic surveys were really a problem , certainly dolphins and whales and many other species would have abandoned it a long time ago. I guess someone forgot to tell them because they keep chasing our boats.

      • “To compare the total energy output per year (in joules) of the various human-made underwater noise sources, the highest is 2.1 x 1015 J, representing the contribution from nuclear explosions and ship-shock trials (explosions used by the Navy to test the structural integrity of their ships). Immediately following in contribution are seismic airgun arrays at 3.9 x 1013 J. Next, are military sonars (2.6 x 1013 J) and supertankers, merchant vessels, and fishing vessels at 3.8 x 1012 J (Hildebrand 2005).”

      • @ J McClure
        Energy applied in microseconds as an explosion, or dribbled out over the course of a year?
        Nuclear explosions followed by airgun arrays?
        Lumping nukes and airguns together?
        Just in case you do not know, we try to maintain a relatively high level of discourse on the blog. Many of us are fairly scientifically literate, and the comments reflect that.
        Your comments are stupid and insulting to the readers here beyond belief.
        We demand better than this even from our trolls.

      • @ J McClure:
        First Sentence:

        Noise from a single seismic airgun survey, used to discover oil and gas deposits hundreds of kilometers under the sea floor

        Hundreds of kilometers? Deep into the Earth’s mantle?
        Then we have:

        should be considered enough to cause population level impacts

        There is that old , as in “may be”, “might”, “could”, as in we know it won’t, but we can not say that.
        All in the first paragraph. After this, the rest has no credibility.
        Be a good troll, up your game.

      • Yeah… If we were using airguns capable of discovering “oil and gas deposits hundreds of kilometers under the sea floor,” we’d be using nukes… 😉

        Seismic airgun surveys are loud enough to penetrate hundreds of kilometers into the ocean floor, even after going through thousands of meters of ocean.

        Getting through the “thousands of meters of ocean” is the easy bit.

      • Hmmmn. 10 lbs of explosive (TNT) cause 279 dB of “souund waves.”
        In WWII, hundreds of thousands of depth charges, each depth charge exploding 600 pounds of Torpex (itself many times the impact capacity of simple TNT!), were released across a limited area of the Atlantic in 6 years of warfare. Many thousands were released above the Atlantic Coast of America and in the Gulf of Mexico.
        After all those tens of thousands of explosions (678 depth charges were used in just one attack) the number of whales, dolphins and fish had increased many times due to the loss of fishermen and whaling vessels during the war.
        And I will not mention the millions of tons of oil released from sunken tankers, burning merchant ships, and sunk and exploded warships. Nope. No mention at all of larger fish and whale populations after years of thousands of multi-ton shell and ammo ship explosions.

      • Apparently you have never heard of spherical divergence correction @ J McClure. If you had you would know how quickly a seimic signal degrades and how it needs to be artificially boosted in order to see maybe 15 kms deep including the water column.
        And nuclear weapons make too big a splash when they go off and theyre hell on the cables.

    • I worked marine seismic for several years back in the ’70’s. It was my understanding that airguns, as well as their better frequency control of the acoustic signal, were brought in because they replaced dynamite… which as we all know, has a very significant effect on marine life.

  10. The selectivity of environmental concern, seismic studies vs. offshore wind turbines is the clear “tell”.
    Far too little is known about the long-term issues with vibrations caused by offshore (and on-shore) wind turbines, but damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead as far as the “green” NGOs are concerned. It seems the streets of hell are paved with money, not good intentions.

  11. If the region is mostly gas and gas is surplus for the foreseeable future, why not wait? Nobody would bid to drill US deepwater gas because of the adverse economics. (Deepwater oil either, for that matter.) Waiting will result in the seismic technology further improving. Producing results that lie fallow for 10 years makes little to me as a business matter.

    • Who’s better equipped to determine when an oil companies money is going to be wasted?
      The oil company or the government?

      • While I agree with Ristvan, this seems from my POV to be a poor economic use of resources, apparently some folks in the industry think otherwise.
        Therefore, unless a consistent reason for denial exists, I would say let them do it and there will at least be some additional information generated. For instance, if large reserves are discovered it could cause some small downward-pressure on the price of energy in the near future. Every penny/barrel saved is many millions earned.

    • The logistics of offshore development requires years of lead time. This capricious childish decision by the Present President is just his team continuing their punishment of America.

    • Regardless of whether it is gas or oil, let the market decide what makes economic sense, not the government, and surely getting the data is essential for the long term planning of our energy policy which must look forward many decades. If it turns out that the economics does not currently favor exploration/production isn’t it best to get the data to have the best available data and determine what technology in the future is needed to harvest these potential resources?
      Don’t forget oil/gas prices can rise dramatically.
      Probably the cost of production today is less than solar/wind/or biofuels.

      • Long lead times is especially true for accessing offshore resources. There are only so many drilling rigs available, and most have to be reserved years in advance.

  12. I only worry about the “cracks” found about year 2000 offshore in continental shelf (about 60 miles)
    from Virg. and NC

  13. Seismic surveys of the Eastern seaboard have been illegal for decades. What are they so terrified that people might find. What scares them so witless that they make it a criminal act to even look?
    Is it the Lost Continent of Atlantis?
    Is it secret bases of UFO space aliens?
    Is it enough oil and gas reserves to power the US for decades?

    • The gas, and its seeps that are releasing more gas than the US currently uses. That sort of thing. There are megalithic structures in 60′ of water off the Bahamas. Maybe coastal people hate the oil industry.

  14. This seems to be a case of BOEM pasting a ‘Kick Me!’ sign to their own bureaucratic backsides!
    May the butt kicking of all such misguided eco-obstructionists be sustained and thorough!
    11 days remaining and counting down….
    (Note to self: Buy more popcorn, butter, salt, and beer.)

  15. Even if ocean seismic techniques improve in five years, today’s seismic can be used to delineate prospective areas that can be fine tuned for drilling using the better tools later. Early satellite mapping shows the area off the US eastern sea board to be very benign relative to anomalies that might trap hydrocarbons. This means that either there hasn’t been not enough tectonic activity to create potential traps or the only traps may be stratigraphic in nature rather than structural in nature. It takes lots of extra seismic to delineate strat traps.
    The Gulf of Mexico has been explored ad nauseum using airguns. There is no technical reason to not use airguns to explore the Eastern Seaboard. That leaves the permit denials as petty politics by sore losers.

  16. The threadbare nonsense of this Administration is shown in nearly everything this President’s team is seen doing. This pattern of deliberately bad policies has been notable since 2009. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  17. So, they brought accountability to the organic black blob, and replaced it with the voracious appetite of the anthropogenic green blight and environmentalist lobby. Progress?

  18. Obama is the first President of the USA not to be born in the USA. He was born of a Mohammedan father, and raised in Indonesia by a Mohammedan step father. He also had a year off in Pakistan to study the Qur’an while saying that he was at Columbia. Only 11 days to wait for the Relief of Mafeking.

    • Actually, the first seven presidents of the USA were not born in the USA. Martin Van Buren was the first US president to have been born in the USA.
      That said, do we have to inject birther nonsense?

  19. As a computer tech for a geophysical company, I witnessed first hand accounts of airgun tests performed near Seattle, witnessed by Alaska Fisheries biologists. In the test, airgun arrays were set off at a distance of two feet beside cages of salmon fingerlings. The fingerlings were unharmed.

    • In the face of whales washed up on the beach – deep sea whales who suffered brain damage from high frequency sonar – whales who fled from the depths to flee the pain and beached on our shore.
      And here You are claiming You “understand”?
      Are you Nuts?

      • Whales have been washing up on the beaches since pre-Columbus times. They (the beached whales, dolphins, and porpoises) were so commonly found that shore-harvesting became a major food source and a common Indian and Colonial industry from VA to Canada. A Looooong time before ship-side whaling was started.

      • Good fracking grief!

        When it comes to why whales beach themselves scientists haven’t been able to find a clear answer but have had many speculations and ideas as to why this may occur.
        Whales beaching themselves have been recorded throughout history.
        In fact historical records indicate that whales have been beaching themselves since at least 300 B.C., however scientists are discovering that whale stranding’s appear to be occurring more frequently and in larger numbers than previously known and while scientists are unclear as to whether this increase in numbers is simply due to more people reporting stranding’s or because the number of stranding’s has actually increased due to human factors it has raised some concerns in the eyes of marine biologists, activists and whale lovers.
        While no definite answer can be given as to the cause of whale beaching’s and whether or not they are actually increasing in recent times we can assume that at least some of these concepts and ideas may be contributing to the cause of whale beaching’s.
        Below you can find several possible causes that may contribute to the beaching of whales.
        1) Injuries from collisions with boats, ships and other man-made aquatic machines.
        2) Water pollution
        3) Confusion due to man-made sonar
        Some biologists and scientists speculate that whales may become disoriented, sick and confused by the use of man-made sonar which may interfere with a whales brainwaves or use of echolocation causing the whale to lose its sense of direction and beach itself.
        4) Natural diseases
        5) Attacks from sharks or other marine mammals
        6) Poison from various aquatic species
        7) Changes or abnormalities in the earths magnetic field
        8) Pneumonia
        9) Traumas caused by various aquatic elements in the environment
        10) Changes in the weather and ocean caused by global warming
        11) The whale has already died
        12) Following the pack

        Conspicuously absent from the list are marine seismic surveys. Sonar is the closest match: “Some biologists and scientists speculate that whales may become disoriented, sick and confused by the use of man-made sonar.” I like how they differentiate biologists from scientists. Like sonar, some biologists speculate that marine airguns may cause whale beachings, despite a total lack of evidence.

        Marine mammals close to underwater detonations of high explosive can be killed or severely injured, and the auditory organs are especially susceptible to injury (Ketten et al., 1993; Ketten, 1995). Airgun pulses are less energetic and their peak amplitudes have slower rise times. To date, there is no evidence that serious injury, death, or stranding by marine mammals can occur from exposure to airgun pulses, even in the case of large airgun arrays. Additionally, Hilcorp’s project will use low-intensity sonar equipment in shallow water. NMFS does not expect any marine mammals will incur injury or mortality in the shallow waters off Beaufort Sea or strand as a result of the proposed geohazard survey.

        And despite this total lack of evidence, marine geophysical contractors take extreme precautions in order to avoid disturbing marine mammals.

        In spite of a lack of evidence linking seismic surveys to strandings, geophysical contractors have implemented industry-wide mitigation practices to avoid impacts on marine species. Regulators and seismic surveyors establish a marine mammal exclusion zone before beginning operations, and they hire trained observers with the authority to stop operations if a sensitive species is spotted within the exclusion zone. Operators also gradually ramp up sound emissions and move their vessels slowly, in order to allow marine mammals to move away from the area before full operation begins.

        Mitigation and monitoring must be proportionate to the potential risks identified by an environmental assessment and specific to the local environment and the operation being undertaken. Measures commonly used by the seismic industry include timing seismic surveys to avoid known areas of biological significance, such as whale foraging or breeding areas or avoiding seasonal marine life occurrences such as peak whale and dolphin activity seasons or migration.
        Before a seismic operation begins, visual monitoring is undertaken to check for the presence of marine mammals and other marine species within a specified precautionary, or exclusion zone, often using dedicated marine mammal observers (MMOs) or protected species observers (PSOs).
        Further monitoring may be done using passive acoustic monitoring technology (PAM), which may detect vocalizing marine animals, especially during low visibility and nighttime conditions. In the event marine animals are detected in the exclusion zone, seismic operation will not begin for a certain time period until the marine animal moves away. Similarly, a seismic survey will shut down if the marine animal is observed entering the exclusion zone once operations have begun.
        Soft-start or ramping-up procedures are undertaken by seismic vessels as a matter of general operational procedure. Soft starts involve activating a small section of the acoustic sound arrays over a period of time, gradually getting louder until the full acoustic array is operating. This measure also allows a marine animal to swim away before the acoustic source is activated at full strength.


    • Doc, we conducted similar experiments in many of the lakes in east Texas which yielded the same results: no harm to any of the fish or other denizen.
      Unfortunately this, like so many aspects of the O&G industry, has become too politicized and detrimentally impacted by the ‘fake news’ phenomenon. The International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) website contains a number of good references as well as industry guidelines for marine seismic acquisition.
      See: and http://www.iogp.ord/sound-marine-life for additional information.

  20. Is there no scientific value to a complete underwater seismic survey OTHER than the detection of fossil fuels? It seems, to me, that such geological data would have value for a better understanding of geology of the planet. Or am I out to lunch? GK

    • Since we primarily use these data to interpret structural geology, stratigraphy, depositional environments and reconstruct the geologic history of sedimentary basins… The answer is: Yes. Since the Atlantic OCS sedimentary basins are primarily Mesozoic carbonate systems, it’s unlikely that direct or even indirect hydrocarbon indicators will be present.
      The oil companies who underwrite the surveys will have a period of exclusive access to the data. After this period, anyone who can afford to purchase licenses to the data can have access to it. My guess is that it won’t be cheap.
      The BOEM gets immediate access to all of the data and it can eventually be made available to academic institutions and government agencies.

  21. I get suspicious of quoted sources with punctuation errors, especially promiscuous apostrophes. “Beachings” and “strandings” do not require the apostrophes shown in the quote because they are simple plurals. On the other hand, “earth’s” does take the apostrophe since it is a singular possessive. The biggest offender, of course, is its: the word “its”, meaning belonging to it, is a possessive pronoun that does not take an apostrophe, nor does any other pronoun. The word “it’s” with the apostrophe is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.”
    Aside from that, the constant interruptions from Clueless McClure get irritating after a bit.

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