Comment period for residents on potential seismic blast testing

The federal government is in the middle of a 30-day comment period on new proposed seismic blast testing in hopes of finding oil and natural gas off of much of the eastern United States' coastline.

That includes the coastline of Delaware and Maryland.  Concerned residents and organization members gathered in Lewes to discuss how these new proposals could effect the areas business and environment.

Kathy Phillips, Coastkeeper in Assateague, says the blasts or sound that would be sent into the ocean would be comparable to standing at the end of a runway as a 747 is taking off.

Those blasts can harm, even kill, marine life swimming as the sounds vibrate its way to and into the ocean floor.  Those that are affected would be diverted, causing a crisis for the fishing industry.

"A clean, healthy coast, that's the goose that lays the golden egg that's providing all of the tourism dollars, and that's what is way more valuable than the value of the oil and gas deposits that's what we want to protect," said John Weber, Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager at the Surfrider Foundation.

The government will hold no public hearings on the topic, but concerned citizens can comment directly to the government through July 6th.

The National Marine Fisheries Service would have to approve the surveys, and a summary of the published document can be found here:

If approved, private companies could conduct seismic blast tests with leases from 6 months to a year.

Another community gathering will be held at the Ocean City Convention Center Thursday night, where Mayor Rick Meehan is scheduled to be in attendance.

Categories: Delaware, Local News