Trump Administration One Step Closer to Approving Seismic Airgun Blasting

GR: Seismic prospecting harms marine creatures. The danger is so severe that no reasonable person would permit the practice. However, the corporate assault on nature is taking full advantage of Trump’s presidency. Apparently, Trump offers no resistance to any economic scheme that would harm wild creatures. He appears to be at the egotistical center of the homocentric mind. There, none have concern for other people and probably none for nonhuman creatures. Trump has never had a pet, and is only considering a bringing a dog into the Whitehouse for the sake of appearances. Of course, Obama was willing to permit seismic testing. Public intervention stopped him.  Let’s hope that the public outcry that stopped Obama will be successful with Trump. Sign the petition here.

“The Trump administration issued Monday a draft Incidental Harassment Authorizations for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface. By issuing these draft Incidental Harassment Authorizations for public comment, Oceana said the federal government is giving another gift to the oil industry—moving forward with the permitting process that gives geophysical companies permission to harm or disturb marine life in the pursuit of offshore oil.

“According to the government’s own estimates, seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic could injure as many as 138,000 marine mammals like dolphins and whales, while disturbing the vital activities of millions more.

“This threat is real and it’s coming fast,” said Nancy Pyne, campaign director at Oceana. “Coastal communities have the most to lose, but unfortunately their overwhelming opposition may be ignored by the Trump administration. The threats of seismic airgun blasting alone are bad enough, but it’s also the first step to offshore drilling, which could lead to the industrialization of coastal communities and the risk of another BP Deepwater Horizon-like disaster. The time to protect our coast is now.”

“In late April, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at expanding offshore drilling and exploration in U.S. waters. Specifically, the order calls for a review of the Five-Year Program (2017-2022) for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf , and directs the administration to fast-track the permitting process for seismic airgun blasting. Following that directive, the Trump administration re-initiated the permitting process for seismic airgun blasting in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida, reversing a decision by the Obama administration to deny these permits.

“As of today, 125 East Coast municipalities, more than 1,200 elected officials, numerous commercial and recreational fishing interests, and an alliance representing more than 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have publicly opposed offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting. An Oceana report in 2015 found that offshore oil and gas development in the Atlantic could jeopardize the nearly 1.4 million jobs and more than $95 billion in gross domestic product that rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation.

“Seismic airguns create one of the loudest man made sounds in the ocean,” said Dr. Ingrid Biedron, marine scientist and campaign manager at Oceana. “Seismic airguns fire intense blasts of compressed air every 10 to 12 seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks to months on end. The noise from these blasts is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source, which is approximately the distance of a flight from New York City to Los Angeles.” — Oceana (Continue reading: Trump Administration One Step Closer to Approving Seismic Airgun Blasting.)

Anthropogenic noise pollution is threatening wild spaces

GR: Earth’s wildlife decline is caused by construction, invasive species, climate change, and many other human impacts. For instance, scientists have shown that the sounds coming from our industry, airplanes, cars, and even our voices are harmful. The story below reports the results of a new study of the effects of sound on wildlife.

“Wild spaces are important for many reasons. For us humans, they give us peace and energy, provide places for recreation and connection with nature, and teach us about the life around us. But wild places are not only necessary for humans – for flora and fauna and the land itself, protected areas are reserves where nature can run its course without as much interference from humans. They provide critical places for the earth to heal itself and resume its organic processes; they also give homes to many endangered species. Yet unfortunately, protected areas may not actually be as protected as their names make them sound. A new study from Buxton et al. looked at the degree to which noise pollution has infiltrated protected areas in the United States, finding that anthropogenic noise doubled background noise levels in a majority of protected areas. Scientists and nature-lovers alike fear that this is affecting habitats that many ecosystems rely on.

“Protected areas include, but are not limited to National Parks. Get a glimpse of the 59 US National Parks in the slide show below.

“Protected areas in the United States cover 14% of the country’s land mass. To determine how noise pollution is affecting these areas, scientists from Colorado State University and the U.S. National Park Service collaborated to measure human-caused sounds from aircraft, highways, industrial, and residential sources. The team listened to countless hours of sound measurements from 492 sites around the country.

Protected areas include marine reserves, such as the Hōlei Sea Arch. Photo Credit: S. Geiger, NPS

“They found that the most noise came from roads, aircraft, human development, and resource extraction. In 63% of U.S. protected areas, anthropogenic noise doubled background sound levels. In 21% there was an even greater impact, causing a 10-fold or more increase in normal background noise. To break that down in more understandable terms, human-caused noise has reduced the area in which natural sounds can be heard by 50-90%. This means that what could be heard at 100 feet away can now only be heard from a distance of 10 to 50 feet.” –Kathryn DeMuth Sullivan (Continue reading: Anthropogenic noise pollution is threatening wild spaces).

Traffic noise reduces birds’ response to alarm calls — ScienceDaily

GR:  The sounds of human voices and machines interfere with wildlife feeding, mating, and response to danger. Just another of the many ways that we are destroying the wildlife and biodiversity of the Earth.

“A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that traffic noise makes birds less responsive to alarm calls that would otherwise alert them to dangers such as predators.

“Megan Gall and Jacob Damsky of New York’s Vassar College tested how traffic noise affected the reactions of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice to titmouse alarm calls, which warn birds that a predator is nearby. Using speakers set up near feeding platforms baited with bird seed, they recorded the birds’ responses to three different recordings — alarm calls alone, traffic noise alone, and a combination of the two. The traffic noise didn’t deter the birds from feeding, but five times as many birds approached speakers when the researchers played alarm calls on their own compared with when traffic sounds were added.

“There has been lots of work on how anthropogenic noise affects vocal production, but much less on the response of animals to signals in the presence of noise,” says Gall. “Additionally, a lot of this work focuses on song, but we were interested in how noise might affect responses to an anti-predator vocalization. These vocalizations are evoked by the presence of a predator and so are closely linked in time with a particular stimulus.”

“The study’s results suggest that traffic noise can reduce birds’ ability to hear an alarm call, potentially increasing their vulnerability to predators. “Gall and Damsky’s experiment helps us understand how human-caused noise can interfere with the transfer of information among animals in social groups,” according Florida Atlantic University’s Rindy Anderson, an expert in vocal communication in birds who was not involved with the study. “It’s interesting that the birds’ foraging behavior was not affected under any of the playback conditions, which suggests that the behavioral effects were due to the call playbacks being masked by noise, rather than the noise being simply aversive.”–Science Daily (Continue reading:  Traffic noise reduces birds’ response to alarm calls