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Seabed mining inches forward

August 24, 2015

The new frontier for mining is the bottom of the ocean.  When done in relatively shallow waters (500m or less), it’s known as seabed mining (SBM); in areas where the seafloor is deeper, it’s called deep sea mining (DSM).  In the past five years, the International Seabed Authority, a UN agency that oversees commercial activity in international […]

Seabed mining: is 35 miles too close to whale nursery?

July 9, 2015

As regular readers may know, I really dislike the expansion of mining into the sea. Not content to be filling the seas with the sounds of our ships and seismic survey airguns traversing the surface, we seem intent on extending our industrial footprint and sound-making onto the seafloor.  The oil and gas industry is already […]

Seabed mining facing high hurdles from NZ EPA

October 30, 2014

In recent years, there’s been a growing sense of concern in the ocean noise community about the worldwide emergence of plans for mining the seabed for a wide range of minerals.  Some of these plans are moving toward completion, as mining companies have solved the cost and technical complications and begun submitting actual project plans to regulators.  An […]

Undersea mining: moving forward at last? Too fast?

December 11, 2009

The mining industry is looking more actively at the vast opportunities available if they can tap into the three quarters of the earth’s surface that is under the oceans.  A new generation of undersea technology, developed in part by the oil and gas industry, is opening this door that was previously mostly a dream.  Undersea […]

Marine invertebrates also affected by ocean noise

August 1, 2016

Some of the most interesting new work in ocean noise is revealing the myriad ways that humanity’s sounds can have negative impacts on ocean life other than marine mammals.  Sure, everyone loves our warm-blooded kin, but there’s way more to the ocean ecosystem than dolphins, humpbacks, and seals.  AEInews has been covering this leading edge for years (see […]

New court ruling on Navy sonar has big implications

July 20, 2016

A new court ruling could fundamentally change the standards that the Navy and National Marine Fisheries Service have been using to regulate Navy sonar, by requiring more areas to be set aside as off-limits to the Navy’s routine peacetime operations.  A federal appeals court has ruled that simply determining that Navy activities will have “negligible impact” […]

Taming ship traffic in the warming Arctic

April 13, 2016

Ship traffic through Canada’s Northwest Passage has more than doubled since 2004 and tripled since the 1980s, mostly thanks to much longer open-water seasons as the Arctic continues to warm.  Today’s 300-350 voyages per year is expected to double again as both mining and tourism rise in the years ahead. In response, there are increasing calls […]

VT study sheds light on how often wind farm noise reaches bothersome levels

November 6, 2015

A sneakily fascinating legal response was recently released, in which the State of Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) responds to request by wind farm neighbor Paul Brouha for relief from noise coming from the Sheffield Wind Farm.  Most of the technical back-and-forth amounts to quibbling between sound experts about 1-3dB differences, caused by slightly different monitoring techniques.  This […]

IMO adopts shipping noise guidelines, adding to ISO measurement standards

May 31, 2014

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the first-ever comprehensive guidelines on shipping noise.  The voluntary guidelines mark the first step toward a longer-term goal of bringing noise factors into planning for both ship design and shipping routes. This marks the successful completion of a six-year process, largely spearheaded by NOAA, the US Coast Guard, […]

Vermont PSB asking for input on turbine noise standards

February 4, 2014

The state Public Service Board has initiated a public process for re-examining the noise standards used at wind and natural gas energy facilities in Vermont.  Geoff Commons, the PSB’s public advocate, notes that neighbor complaints from wind projects operating in compliance with a 45dB standard are part of the driver for this review. “Even with […]

Global industry council forms new ocean noise working group

July 13, 2013

The World Ocean Council, an “international, cross-sectoral alliance for private sector leadership and collaboration in Corporate Ocean Responsibility,” has launched a new initiative to address ocean noise issues.  Planned to complement the ongoing efforts of the oil and gas industry’s Sound and Marine Life program and the International Maritime Organization’s ocean noise policy work addressing shipping […]

Brief turbine noise monitoring in Vermont fails to capture useful data

July 6, 2013

Noise complaints around the Sheffield Wind facility in Vermont began soon after the turbines began turning; combined with complaints from other wind farms, the Vermont Department of Public Service initiated investigations.  This week, a report was released summarizing the results from three days of noise monitoring outside the home of a family that has been […]

Biologically rich areas off limits while Gulf seismic EIS is conducted

June 24, 2013

Thirty months after environmental groups sued to force ongoing seismic survey programs in the Gulf of Mexico to be subject to more robust compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, a settlement announced this week requires full EIS’s to be completed within thirty months from now.  In the meantime, surveys will be […]

Puget Sound orcas face challenges from boat noise & a de-listing petition from farmers

November 30, 2012

As the US Federal government takes up a petition calling for the removal of Puget Sound’s resident orcas from the Endangered Species list, a lack of funding at NOAA continues to hamper efforts to enforce regulations meant to protect them from harassment by whale watching boats.  Seattle’s Q13 TV news team tells the sorry tale here, […]

NRDC re-opens legal battle with Navy, NOAA over sonar

January 27, 2012

Three years after the NRDC and U.S. Navy reached an agreement that was meant to create avenues for dialogue and collaboration, a new lawsuit filed this week suggests that the hopes both sides held have not been realized. The main sticking point remains the same now as it was then: environmental advocates insist that some […]

UK wind farm noise nuisance court challenge begins

July 6, 2011

An unprecedented court case has begun in the UK, which could determine whether noise impacts become more widely considered to be of importance around wind farms.  Jane and Julian Davis moved out of their home in 2006 after the wind farm began operation, saying the sound was ‘unbearable’ even though they wore earplugs at night and […]

Squid grievously injured by LF shipping, seismic noise?

April 11, 2011

New research indicates that squid and their relatives are injured by exposure to low frequency noise similar to the “acoustic smog” created by widespread shipping and localized seismic surveys.  This is the first study to show physiological damage caused by noise in animals who do not have ears or hearing organs. The study exposed squid, […]

Ocean noise importance rises as scientists discover more species that use sound

February 4, 2011

A new study reveals yet another family of ocean life previously thought to be deaf actually use sound to avoid potentially dangerous areas.  It’s the latest fascinating study from a collaboration between British and Australian scientists that has been revolutionizing our understanding of the role of acoustic ecology in reef habitats. In this study, crustaceans […]

Vinalhaven, Falmouth community wind noise issues remain contentious

November 30, 2010

Two of the “hot button” wind farms of 2010 are headed into the new year with continuing local rancor, despite conciliatory talk from authorities in each town when neighbors began to raise noise issues a year ago. In Vinalhaven, Maine, where three turbines went online in October 2009, providing power for the local electric co-op, […]

Bias in Military (or Conservation) Funded Ocean Noise Research

December 5, 2009

(this item first appeared in AEI’s lay summaries of new research) Wade, Whitehead, Weilgart. Conflict of interest in research on anthropogenic noise and marine mammals: Does funding bias conclusions? Marine Policy 34 (2010) 320-327. In the United States, the US Navy funds about 70% of the research into the effects of ocean noise on wildlife […]

ND Rejects Neighbor Request to Move 4 Disputed Turbines to Beyond Half Mile From His Home

August 12, 2009

The North Dakota Public Service Commission declined to intervene in a last-minute request from a Luverne couple who wanted a neighboring wind farm moved from near their property line.  The Jim and Mary Anne Miller build dog sleds and keep 21 huskies for testing them, and were concerned that the 80 turbines planned in an […]

AEI in the world: Alberta oil and gas noise control conference

May 26, 2009

AEI’s Jim Cummings reports on his second trip to Alberta’s biannual noise control conference. Alberta has very stringent noise regulations on the oil and gas industry, though as the AEI presentation pointed out, pressure is likely to continue to reduce the noise footprint of industrial operations.

Navy, NRDC Agree to Move Sonar Dispute out of Court

January 7, 2009

The US Navy and the NRDC and its co-plaintiffs have settled a long-running lawsuit that challenged the Navy’s overall management of its mid-frequency active sonar program (this suit was separate from more high-profile challenges to specific training missions, one of which recently ended up in the Supreme Court). The resulting agreement formalizes the Navy’s recent commitment […]

AEI FactCheck: Navy/NRDC Battle of the Soundbites

August 21, 2008

Been wondering what’s up with the great “Sonar Kills Whales”/”Everything’s Fine, Just Go Away” rhetorical battle between NRDC and the Navy? As you might suspect, the reality is not nearly so neatly defined as either of them might suggest….and if you’re up for digging into it more deeply, the Acoustic Ecology Institute has just posted […]

Navy Releases First EIS for Sonar Training; Hawaii Range Targeted for Continued Sonar Training, Using Current Safety Procedures

June 30, 2008

The US Navy has released its first completed Environmental Impact Statement examining active sonar training activities, this one covering training in waters around Hawaii, and proposing to continue current Navy operating procedures, rather than adopting more stringent safety measures. Eleven other regional training ranges are receiving similar scrutiny, with draft EISs released for two, and […]