Obama approves rules for Atlantic oil exploration

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The petroleum industry won a significant victory in a dispute with environmental groups last week when the Obama administration approved guidelines for seismic searches for oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean.

The decision opens the way for companies to seek permits to look for oil in a stretch of the Atlantic from Delaware to Florida, using compressed-air guns that blast the ocean bottom with thousands of sound pulses as loud as a howitzer, the New York Times reported.

The new rules do not permit actual drilling for oil, but experts have said a decision to allow exploration sends a clear signal that allowing offshore drilling rigs also would be approved.

A congressional ban on offshore Atlantic production expires in 2017. The oil industry is pressing for exploration to begin as soon as next year.

The Interior Department, which issued the new guidelines, has said that as much as 4.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil could lie beneath the seabed, but the lack of actual exploration data puts that estimate in doubt.

Environmental groups say the seismic pulses will destroy some marine creatures and disrupt feeding, migration and other crucial habits of whales and dolphins, some of them already endangered species.

The oil exploration industry argues that years of seismic exploration elsewhere have produced little if any evidence that the technique causes serious harm.

Related

G.G. Schmitt Names Business Unit Director

Ross Kennedy joins the Patrick Industries-owned marine hardware manufacturer.

Marine Connection Opens New Complex

The waterfront location in Aventura is the company’s seventh Florida retail and service facility.

Shockwave Unveils New Suspension Module

The S6 module has an integrated height adjustment and can be paired with any seat that has a common bolt pattern.

Industry Mourns Paul Fletcher

Fletcher, who founded Pleasurecraft Marine Engine Co. in 1975, was 77.

New Leadership at Roscioli Yachting Center

OneWater Marine has been named James Brewer managing director of the facility.

PressureMate Introduces On-Board Pressure Washer

The 12-volt system has a patent-pending plunger design that produces 600 psi of pressure.

ABYC Introduces Entry-Level Certification

The Marine Service Technology program now includes a year-end exam to help launch students into marine-industry careers.