Groups oppose air guns offshore in Atlantic

By BRUCE SMITHAssociated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Conservation groups oppose using air guns to search for oil and natural gas off the Atlantic Coast.

Katie Parrish of Oceania, a group working protect the world's oceans, told a Charleston news conference Tuesday that the guns are so loud they could deafen ocean mammals.

The guns shoot compressed air into the water so researchers can map oil and gas deposits beneath the ocean. Representatives of the South Carolina Aquarium and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy attended the news conference.

Andy Radford of the American Petroleum Institute says air guns have been used for decades and there's never been a documented case of a sea creature killed by them.

He says the industry uses mitigation such as slowly increasing the air gun intensity so sea creatures can swim away.

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