The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a final environmental impact statement (PEIS) for proposed geological and geophysical surveys of the Gulf of Mexico regarding possible oil and gas development.
It finds that the surveys would pose a danger of significant harm to marine mammals.
Projecting for air-gun blasting over the next decade, the statement estimates millions of creatures—including hundreds of sperm whales, plus other whales and dolphins—would be harmed.
Air-gun blasting involves seismic air-guns blasting compressed air through miles of water down to the seabed in the quest for oil and gas beneath the ocean floor. Blasts can occur continually at 10-second intervals for weeks or months at a time.
Environmental group Earth Justice and the Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity used the PEIS to highlight the danger represented to marine life and environments.
But the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) criticized the PEIS.
An API statement said the PEIS was based on a “flawed interpretation of scientific data”. And IAGC said the PEIS “ignores the best available science.”