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Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP11) extends from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, through the Central Coast to Lake Macquarie and Newcastle, and is over 4,500 square km. Within this permit area Asset Energy (parent company MEC Resources) will be conducting Seismic Testing over 500 square km.
Seismic testing is intense, explosive and continuous underwater airgun blasting that will fire every 3-10 seconds for 24 hours at a time over the weeks of the planned testing. This data collected from the blasting will be used by MEC Resources to determine the best location for drilling targets for oil or gas wells.
Seismic testing posses a serious threat to marine life from the base of the food chain right up to some of the biggest mammals on earth.
The Port Stephens to Sydney coastline has thriving dolphin populations and is a major migration route for Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) as they leave Antartica and travel north, where they breed in the warm waters. These waters also provide habitat for plankton, oysters, turtles and penguins, all which have proved to suffer malformations post Seismic Testing. Cetaceans suffer hearing loss, which impairs communication, echolocation, feeding and mating. It has also been linked to cetacean standings, leading to injury and or death.
This testing was recently banned in New Zealand.
The consequences of testing also extend to the possibility of an oil or gas rig if the testing locates potential drilling sites. This will accelerate climate change. Methane is the primary component of natural gas and oil, and it more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. Increased global warming will lead to faster coral bleaching, greater ocean acidification, loss of polar ice, extreme climate events and rising sea levels.
In this current climate of warming and extinction, we should not be treating the lives of marine life and potentially pulling more fossil fuels from the earth.
How can you help stop seismic testing off our coast?
1. Sign the petition at saveourcoast.org to stop blasting for oil and gas off Newcastle and the Central Coast.
2. Like Save Our Coast's Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with events
3. Share the story with your friends, family and community
4. Speak up, contact your local MP and inform them that you oppose seismic testing and call for an immediate stop on oil and gas exploration.
5. Peacefully gather at community events to show opposition to the seismic testing.
Find more information on this topic at https://www.saveourcoast.org.au
Written by Kristen McSpadden
Image taken from The Newcastle Herald