Seismic survey refused

The state rejected a proposal seismic surveys off the coast saying it would be harmful to marine life.

RALEIGH, N.C.

A state agency rejected a company's request to conduct seismic surveys off the North Carolina coast.

The state's Division of Coastal management determined the surveys would have "significant adverse impacts" on marine life and on commercial and recreational fisheries, according to a news release from the agency.

WesternGeco proposed to conduct seismic surveys off the East Coast to determine the feasibility of extracting oil and gas. The company would tow an air gun array over about 208 days during the year. The full survey area would stretch from roughly 19 miles off the coast of Maryland to about 50 miles from the St. Augustine, Fla., shoreline, the release said.

The air guns would fire every 10 seconds generating sounds in a wide range of frequencies with decibel levels of 225 to 260. The surveys would take place in federal waters, but the law requires the permits be consistent with a state's coastal polices, the release said. The company can appeal the state's decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Jeff Hampton, 252-491-5272, jeff.hampton@pilotonline.com

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