U.S. agency says no to requests for ocean surveys with airguns

By on January 6, 2017

A ship tows an array of airguns. (BOEM)

Federal officials have turned down six applications to use airguns to look for undersea sites that might yield oil and natural gas up and down the East Coast, including areas off North Carolina.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said the risks to marine life outweigh the potential benefits of seismic surveying along the Outer Continental Shelf, particularly since the Atlantic has been removed from the federal leasing program.

Dozens of coastal towns and counties have passed resolutions objecting to surveying with airguns.

“In the present circumstances and guided by an abundance of caution, we believe that the value of obtaining the geophysical and geological information from new airgun seismic surveys in the Atlantic does not outweigh the potential risks of those surveys’ acoustic pulse impacts on marine life,” BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement.

“Since federal waters in the Mid and South Atlantic have been removed from leasing consideration for the next five years, there is no immediate need for these surveys.”

BOEM also noted that testing results obtained now might be obsolete by the time offshore drilling is back on the horizon and would have to be redone.

The action affects only surveys with airguns. Other methods are also used to map the ocean floor.

Seismic surveys are conducted by vessels towing arrays of airguns.

“Seismic airguns can penetrate several thousand meters beneath the seafloor,” the BOEM statement said. “Surveys for other, shallow depth purposes typically do not use airguns. While surveys may have some impacts to marine life, airgun seismic surveys have the potential for greater impacts. “

[adrotate banner=”425″]Oceana, an environmental group leading a campaign against seismic testing and offshore drilling, praised the decision.

“Today, we thank the Obama administration for finishing the job in protecting the Atlantic Ocean from offshore drilling activities,” campaign director Claire Douglass said in a statement. “East Coast communities can finally take a well-deserved sigh of relief knowing that their ocean and economies are currently spared from dangerous seismic airgun blasting.

“With offshore drilling off the table for the near future, there was absolutely no reason to risk the damage that would be caused by seismic airgun blasting in the region.”

The decision was also welcomed by The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce.

“This action is a win for our business community including our commercial fishermen, our environment and our thriving tourism economy,” Chamber President & CEO Karen Brown said in a statement.

“This important decision will buy us time to educate the next Administration about the Outer Banks and the entire Atlantic Coast business community’s overwhelming opposition to offshore drilling.”

Dare County Animal Shelter

Sealed bids for completion of the Dare County Animal Shelter will be received on February 11, 2020, in Dare County Administration Building, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo, NC, for 01-Fencing, 03- Concrete, 04-Masonry, 05-Metals/ Steel, 06-Casework, 07-Roofing, 07-Caulking, 08-Glass and Glazing, 08-Doors, Frames and Hardware, 08-Overhead Doors, 09-Drywall, 09-Flooring, 09-Painting, 10- Specialties, 12- Furnishings, 21-Fire Protection, 23-Mechanical & Plumbing, 26-Electrical, 31-Sitework and 32-Landscaping.

This project will be bid and awarded in accordance with North Carolina law. Sealed proposals from Contractors will be received until 1:00 p.m. All bidders must submit for prequalification by 2:00pm on 1/24/2020. Bids submitted by non-prequalified bidders will not be considered. All bids will be opened and read aloud starting at 2:00 p.m. of the bid day. Bids must be delivered in person and on the supplied Bid Form and include a bid deposit worth 5% of the total bid value. Electronic and faxed bids will NOT be accepted or reviewed. All times are local prevailing times.

Information requests concerning the project shall be submitted in writing to: Alex Palagyi of The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company via email (alex.palagyi@whiting-turner.com)

Bidding material, prequalification material, and complete plans and specifications may be obtained from theWhiting-Turner Building Connected site and will be available until the bid due date. All subcontractors are responsible for emailing Alex Palagyi (alex.palagyi@ whiting-turner.com) for access to the Building Connected site.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Dare County reserve the right to reject any and all bids, waive informalities and irregularities in bidding, and to accept bids which are considered to be in the best interest of the County. The Whiting Turner Contracting Company and Dare County also reserve the right to require any bidder to submit information needed to determine if said bidder is responsible within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. 143-129.


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