Seismic Testing Could Proceed Despite Offshore Drilling Pause

Apr 26, 2019

While the Trump administration has put a plan to expand offshore drilling on hold, seismic testing could still happen off the Georgia coast.

Seismic air gun surveys use loud blasts of sound to check for oil and gas deposits deep underwater. It's a precursor to offshore drilling but it can harm marine life.

Alice Keyes with environmental group One Hundred Miles said even with drilling on hold, seismic testing could move forward.

"These are two very separate processes, which is surprising to a lot of people because they're so interconnected," she said.

Several companies have applied to conduct seismic testing in the Atlantic. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is "continuing to process" those permit applications.

Governor Brian Kemp has said he opposes seismic testing, and the Georgia House recently passed a resolution condemning it.

One Hundred Miles, along with other environmental groups and coastal states, has sued to block seismic testing.

Proponents of it say environmentalists exaggerate the danger to marine life. They point to rules designed to protect animals from harm.