Today environmental groups sued the federal government to prevent seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. The process is used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface, and is the first step toward offshore drilling. Scientists find it can also be quite harmful to marine life.
The lawsuit is led by organizations like Oceana, the Natural Resources Defense Council, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the Sierra Club. They all say the harm to marine life would be catastrophic.
The suit comes two weeks after the federal government issued permits to five companies to move forward with seismic airgun blasting, after they receive permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
From the steps of the Federal Courthouse in Charleston, Mayor John Tecklenburg
“Our federal government is authorizing the harassment of sea life, off-shore. But I would contend to you that our federal government is harassing our citizens of South Carolina, and I say stop it!”
North Carolina Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality Michael Regan tells WHQR he is no fan of the testing either.
“The science is there. The data is there to prove that seismic testing causes disruption with our ecology, our habitat, and that leads to a disruption to our economy and to our coastal way of life. And Governor Cooper and I adamantly opposed seismic testing and offshore drilling off of North Carolina's coast.”
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina.