State Objects to Proposal to Conduct Seismic Survey Off NC Coast

Jun 13, 2019

Credit International Association of Geophysical Contractors

The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management has objected to a proposal to conduct a seismic survey off the North Carolina coast, saying it is inconsistent with state's coastal management policies. The London based company WesternGeco proposes towing a seismic airgun array behind a vessel to look for oil and gas resources in federal waters from Maryland to Florida. The airguns would fire every 10 seconds and produce noise levels ranging from 225 to 260 decibels. The survey would take about a year to complete.

“It could cause significant adverse impacts on many of our coastal activities such as fishing,” said Patricia Smith, the communications director for the Division of Coastal Management. “It could cause [fish] to go away or go to other places, and that could interfere with their ability to reproduce. It also interferes with their communication and their ability to navigate and forage.”

The Coastal Zone Management Act requires that projects needing federal permits must meet the state’s coastal policies when land use, water use, or natural resources may be affected. WesternGeco has 30 days to appeal the state’s objection to the federal secretary of commerce.