According to a recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there are only around 450 North Atlantic Right Whales left in the world, and 17 individuals died in 2017. The alarming demise of these whales is caused by a number of factors, including – unsurprisingly – human activity, especially plastic pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, collisions with vessels, overfishing of their food sources, and noise pollution from seismic blasts from oil drilling.
In early November 2017, the SECURE American Energy Act (H.R. 4239) was passed out of the Natural Resources Committee. If it becomes law, the Act would undermine the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) which has protected many of the ocean’s species for 45 years. If the Act is signed into law by Donald Trump, safeguards on deeply harmful activities like offshore oil exploration would be eradicated – and the oil industry would receive access to the nation’s waters, together with a free hand to develop the dangerous practice of oil exploration.
Among the ways oil exploration harms whales alone, are hearing loss, risk of ice entrapment, reduction of communication between individuals, and greatly increased levels of stress.
The Act would also threaten the management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). It would be a dangerous step towards toppling the balanced approach that allows for development while, at the same time, protecting key nesting habitats and calving grounds for populations of such species as caribous, migratory birds, and wolverines, explains Wildlife Conservation Society.
The SECURE Act would have a serious impact on highly sensitive areas critical to wildlife. It would put many species and their precious habitats in direct danger – among them threatened ones, like the North Atlantic Right Whale. It is a bill that straightforwardly efforts to advance dangerous oil and gas exploration – the House of Representatives being pushed by the oil industry to pass it – and it simply wants to do so at the expense of wildlife and the environment at large.
Click here to sign Wildlife Conservation Society’s petition for the House of Representatives to vote “NO” on the SECURE American Energy Act and protect the environment from oil and gas exploration.
Image source: 12019/Pixabay