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Department of Interior visits NC to get input on offshore energy exploration

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TWC News: Department of Interior visits NC to get input on offshore energy exploration
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WILMINGTON — The Department of Interior paid a visit to the Tar Heel state to gather public input on offshore energy exploration.
 
Thursday, the Department hosted a public hearing in Wilmington to discuss seismic testing. The meeting will help determine the supply of oil and gas off the East Coast and if the ocean floor can support renewable energy installations.
 
To search for oil and gas they use air guns to send a strong sound wave in to the water. The sound bounces off the ocean floor and sends signals back which are recorded and analyzed.
 
"It's really the only tool that a geologist has to understand what's below the surface of the ocean, unless you drill," said Thomas Bjerstedt, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
 
More than a dozen people signed up to speak. Some people said they are against testing for oil and gas but support testing for alternative energy potential because sound is not used.
 
"A lot of our marine mammals actually use sound to communicate and for breeding patterns so it disrupts their livelihoods and it stretches for miles and miles," said opponent Zachary Keith.

However, supporters trust today's technology is environmentally friendly and want to explore the possibilities.
 
"It's important to know what resources we have and how we can best use those resources to help the economy," said supporter Scott Hunt.
 
The information gathered will be considered and addressed in an environmental impact statement. The Department of Interior will use that statement to decide whether to allow seismic testing. They hope to make that decision by the end of the year.

The public meeting is part of a series taking place all along the east coast. The last one is Friday in New Jersey.
 
Click here to read the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

People can submit written comments to:

ggeis@boem.gov

Or by mail to:
Mr. Gary D. Goeke, Chief, Regional Assessment Section?Office of Environment (MS5410)Bureau of Ocean Energy Management?Gulf of Mexico OCR Region?
1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard?New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394

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