Officials hope companies authorized for seismic testing in Atlantic Ocean don’t drill near Myrtle Beach

Five companies authorized for seismic testing in Atlantic Ocean

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there’s no set location or time for when seismic testing will take place for the five companies approved, but city leaders hope its nowhere near the coast of Myrtle Beach.

NOAA hosted a phone question and answer session on Friday, the day the authorization occurred. NOAA said they don’t know exactly when each of the five surveys will begin, but the companies involved will have to notify them when they want to start.

Although its possible the testing could be done at the same time, NOAA said that's a worst case scenario. NOAA said its likely to happen over a large spatial scale and there’s a low likelihood it’ll affect the same marine life.

“This would be a surprise to the council to hear that testing is being proposed now," said Myrtle Beach City Spokesperson Mark Kruea.

Kruea said seismic testing is something city council has taken a position against for a while now. “The risk to that coastline is greater than the benefit that you might reap from the oil or gas production or job creation," he said.

Kruea said he understands the needs for oil, gas and job creation, but to a coastal community, it doesn’t seem worth it.

“The Atlantic coast here is the reason people come to Myrtle Beach. Our economy is largely based on the tourism that we get here," he said.

The National Marine Fisheries Service wrote a report on their opinion of the decision. They said based on the research they’ve done they don’t think the proposed action will jeopardize the existence of certain species of whales or sea turtles.

The companies who were issued an authorization to begin seismic testing have to notify NOAA before they begin within one year of the date that the authorization was issued, which in this case was November 30, 2018.

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