NPR

Seismic Surveys Planned Off U.S. Coast Pose Risk To Marine Life

The Trump administration could give companies permission to set off sonic explosions to explore for oil and gas deposits. Scientists say this could seriously harm marine life.
Humpback whales are among the animals that could be affected by seismic surveys for oil and gas. Source: Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Animals that live in the ocean communicate with sound — humpback whales, for example. But these voices could soon be drowned out by powerful sonic booms from vessels searching for oil and gas.

President Trump is opening up the Atlantic Coast to companies to explore for fresh reserves. And to explore, they will be making some of the loudest sounds ever heard in the ocean — sounds that, according to recent research, could harm marine animals from whales to plankton.

Five companies are currently applying for permits to use seismic air guns to survey thousands of miles of the seabed along the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
British Authorities Scramble To Find Stolen Solid Gold Toilet
Titled America, it is a work of art by Italian Maurizio Cattelan that had been installed at England's Blenheim Palace. A 66-year-old man has been taken into custody.
NPR3 min read
'Homesick' Is A Boundary-Expanding Story Of Devotion And Growing Up
Accomplished translator Jennifer Croft's first non-translated work is a hybrid, mixing photography and impressionistic autobiographical writing to tell the story of Croft's artistic coming of age.
NPR7 min read
A Fire Lookout On What's Lost In A Transition To Technology
The number of manned fire lookouts in the U.S. is dwindling, as technology is increasingly used to spot and monitor wildfires. But can technology replace a human watch?