Protesting seismic testing in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Protesting seismic testing

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They were making noise downtown Tuesday to protect marine life around Savannah.

Local environmentalists protested the proposed used of seismic air guns to test for oil off the Atlantic coast. The Department of Interior will decide in early 2013 on seismic testing, but on Tuesday ,the Washington D.C. based group Oceana held a demonstration in Johnson Square, using air horns and noisemakers to simulate the 250 decibels reached when the airguns are fired under water.

"We want to give a taste of what seismic  testing is,'' said Katie Parrish, Oceana's campaign organizer. "We can tell people 250 decibels, but what does that really mean.''

It means trouble for ocean life, according to the non-profit group.

Oceana claims that level of noise every 10 seconds for 10 minutes during each testing sequence could injure dolphins and whales and disrupt loggerhead sea turtle nests, while commercial and recreational fishing would suffer from the testing.

Environmentalists at Tuesday's protest hope to stop the use of seismic air guns and ultimately off-shore drilling.

But, if you're shooting off air horns in Johnson Square at lunchtime, your primary interest is being noticed.

"I'm hoping that we raised some awareness,'' said Tybee Island city councilman Paul Wolff, who spoke at the demonstration. "And I hope that getting the word out will help and that people understand we're risking a lot not even finding the oil, much less, what could happen if we start drilling off of our shore.''

"We're urging folks to let their representatives know that they disagree with this proposal,'' added Parrish. "What we need to do is make sure as many people as possible know about this proposal and if they have feelings on this issue that they take action and say something about it.''

Oceana has held similar demonstrations up and down the Atlantic coast.

They chose Savannah not only because it's a city that relies so heavily on the coast, because it is roughly in the middle of the proposed testing area of Delaware to south Florida.

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