A Jacksonville City Council committee on Monday narrowly voted to support seismic air-gun testing off the coast.
Air-gun testing is a method for finding oil and natural gas beneath the ocean floor with loud blasts of air.
The federal government is considering applications for offshore exploration in the Atlantic.
At Monday’s Rules Committee meeting, the International Association of Geophysical Contractors sent biologist Robert Gisiner to speak in favor of seismic testing.
“There has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from seismic activities adversely affected marine animal populations of coastal communities,” Gisiner said.
But the St. Johns Riverkeeper sent Jacksonville University biologist Quinton White to speak against it.
“Sound will destroy larvae, destroy eggs,” White said. “[And] disrupt mating behavior of sea turtles, cause potentially death to marine mammals, dolphins, whales.”
Rules Committee Chairman Bill Gulliford says he’s going to do research of his own this week.
If City Council passes the anti-seismic-testing resolution, Jacksonville will be one of about 20 Florida cities to do so.