Local campaigner, Mr Gary Blashke, has partnered with Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle, to raise awareness of plans for seismic testing for oil or gas off the Central Coast. PEP 11 (Petroleum Exploration Permit 11) extends from the Northern beaches of Sydney, through the Central Coast to Newcastle.
“I have been fighting since January to bring this issue to the attention of Central Coast residents, and I’m delighted to unite with a group, as enthusiastic and well-organised as Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle,” said Mr Blashke. “I’m calling on Council and residents from across the Central Coast to unite with residents of Newcastle, Port Stephens, and the Northern Beaches, to stop this abomination of seismic testing and gas fields off our coast,” he said.
“The Federal Government has imposed this seismic testing, and this plan for an offshore oil or gas field, on our communities without proper community consultation, despite protests from NSW Resources Minister, Mr Don Harwin, despite unanimous objection from our Council, and despite growing evidence of the dangers of seismic testing.” said Dr Natasha Deen
Dr Natasha Deen, the founder of Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle, said concerns have been raised regarding the lack of adequate community consultation and the impact on marine animals, tourism and the fisheries industries.
“Off our coast, we have a thriving ecosystem, rich in sea life, with a world-renowned thriving dolphin habitat, and our coast is in the whale migration path,” Dr Deen said. “Many of us feel a deep connection to our coast,” she said. “To conduct this seismic testing here, and risk harm to our marine life, particularly our resident dolphins and migrating whales, angers and distresses the community. “There is very strong community opposition to this seismic testing, and we are delighted to have Gary on board and connect with the Central Coast communities,” Dr Deen said. “Preliminary 2D seismic testing went ahead in April, close to Budgewoi and Swansea, despite community opposition.
“The Seismic testing involved underwater airgun blasts every three to four seconds, continuously for 24 hours, for three days continuously. “Furthermore devastating and extensive 3D testing is planned off the northern areas of the Central Coast and Newcastle. “These underwater blasts are loud enough to penetrate through the ocean floor and can be detected thousands of kilometres away, creating intense underwater pressure waves. “If a human diver was directly under the survey ship, there would be a high risk of serious injury or death. “Seismic testing has been shown to injure and kill marine animals, impair communication and navigation in whales and dolphins, and has been linked to mass strandings and death.
“Global reports show seismic testing is devastating to the entire marine ecosystem and causes injury and death in marine animals. “In addition, the planned gas field will contribute to greater climate change. “We should be investing in renewable energy, not exploiting our precious coast and risking harm to our marine animals and the entire ecosystem for foreign investor contracts. “It is unconscionable. “There has been worldwide scientific and community opposition to seismic testing and successful moratoriums implemented.
“It has an incredibly destructive effect on the whole ecosystem, including killing plankton up to 1.2 km from a single airgun source. “The risk of an environmental disaster with an oil or gas field off the Central Coast is unacceptable to the community, so why proceed with this damaging seismic testing for oil or gas? “Our dolphins and migrating whales deserve to be protected from this blasting, as does other marine life, for ecosystem health, and for our children and our children’s children. “The Federal government must listen to the NSW Resources Minister, our council and our community, intervene, and rescind this flawed plan immediately.”
Source: Media release, Jun 26 Natasha Deen, Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle