Activists oppose seismic blasting in Kure Beach

Activists oppose seismic blasting in Kure Beach

KURE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Activists with Environment NC and Oceana collected signatures at Kure Beach Wednesday. The event was part of a three-day Protect Our Coast campaign in Atlantic Beach, Surf City, and Kure Beach.

The series is taking action against seismic testing, the method to explore offshore for oil. Though offshore drilling is banned off the east coast for the next five years, no decision has been made about seismic testing.

"They tow airguns behind a boat and they send air blasts at the ocean floor. And they reflect back depending on whether or not there's oil there," said Abigail Benjamin, an Environment NC intern. "It's so loud, it threatens to kill or disturb 13 million animals along the coast."

According to Randy Sturgill, an organizer with Oceana, some supporters of testing have said the noise is manageable, but he disagrees.

"It would be more like you're sitting in your living room, watching TV, and every 10 to 12 seconds, somebody lights a stick of dynamite," he said.

The organizations said that the process isn't just harmful to marine life.

"We have so many people who depend on tourism, who depend on fishing for their way of life, for their income," said Benjamin.

According to Environment NC, over 50,000 jobs could be at stake if seismic testing comes to coastal communities in North Carolina.

In January, council members in Kure Beach passed a resolution against both seismic testing and offshore drilling, but it's not the final authority on the issue.

Now the Obama administration is considering seven seismic testing permits on the east coast, but these organizations are hoping for a little more time.

"The president has already pulled the plug on the five year plan, let's give it five more years and see what technology is out there then," said Sturgill.

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