by Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Imagine dynamite going off near your home every 10 seconds, injuring your family, rattling your windows, drowning out all your attempts at conversation. Imagine that these deafening, non-stop explosions go on for days, weeks, even years on end. There is no escape from the excruciating noise.
What toll would this relentless sonic assault take on your hearing, on your nervous system, on your very ability to function?
That’s the situation that the last 284 beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet are facing right now.
Actor and environmental activist Pierce Brosnan has made a new powerful one-minute video for NRDC to help us rally support for the Cook Inlet belugas. Watch the video now.
The Apache Alaska Corporation has launched a deafening airgun assault as it explores for oil and gas in Cook Inlet — the belugas’ only home in the world. At close range, the explosive noise of airguns can cause injury, hearing loss and even death. The blasts will repeat every 10 to 12 seconds and could last 3 to 5 years.
Worse, the Obama Administration gave Apache the green light to proceed with this operation — in the very home waters that our government is supposed to be protecting.
Make no mistake: Apache’s plan is a violation of the federal laws that are meant to safeguard marine mammals from threats like this one.
The National Marine Fisheries Services itself predicts that the airguns will harm at least 30 belugas in the first year of operations alone. After three years, those harmed would equal one third of all the Cook Inlet belugas left on Earth. The agency is calling that impact “negligible.”
In recent years, we’ve watched the number of Cook Inlet belugas plummet from 1,300 to the 284 that exist today. It’s more critical than ever that we generate a massive public outcry and ensure that these endangered whales won’t be sacrificed — ever — to oil company profits.
Send a message to the Obama Administration to withdraw its approval for this devastating airgun assault — before it pushes the last Cook Inlet belugas one tragic step closer to extinction.