Commentary

How anyone with a reasonable amount of logic could support seismic testing off the Atlantic coast is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, considering how small the potential is for a big payoff.

According to the environmental organization Oceana, finding anything more than a 16-month supply of oil beneath the ocean floor would be astonishing.

Even the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management concurs with that assessment, which it should, since the BOEM is where Oceana says it got that information.

Why, then, has firing air cannons at the sea bottom been deemed so critical to our national well-being, when the adverse effects would seem to far outweigh any possible benefit? Is it, in the absence of any real need, just to show that we can do it? That’s certainly how it appears.

The opposition of many coastal dwellers probably wouldn’t change even if there were a 20-year supply of oil or natural gas hidden somewhere below the continental shelf, but at least exploration in that instance would make a little more financial sense.

As it is, proponents of seismic testing, what few there might be, can argue all they want that a continuous barrage of 850-decible blasts won’t hurt anything, but that still doesn’t justify taking their word for it just to get to a relative puddle of oil, if it’s that much.

Besides, we aren’t buying that no-harm-done argument, not after seeing strong evidence to the contrary with regard to marine mammals, sea turtles and all manner of sea creatures.

These are the things that make the “ocean” in Ocean City. A beach resort situated next to body of water that’s empty of whales and dolphins, as well as between 40 and 80 percent of its gamefish, according to some studies, is hardly a resort at all.

That’s the risk the federal government wants coastal communities to take, and we shouldn’t stand for it. The public comment period for this proposed testing is coming soon, so get ready to respond. Local government, the media and business organizations will let you know how.

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