9 attorneys general seek to enjoin administration from seismic testing off Atlantic Coast

By Marian Johns | Mar 11, 2019

ALBANY — A coalition that includes nine attorneys generals and a group of non-governmental organizations has filed a motion to preliminarily enjoin the Trump administration's seismic testing surveys off the Atlantic Coast. 

According to a New York Attorney General's Office March 6 news release, the coalition says the testing, which consists of using seismic air guns that sound out blasts of more than 160 decibels, threaten hundreds of thousands of marine animals. The tests also pave the way for offshore drilling to take place that would harm the coastal economy, the coalition says 

“It is unconscionable that our federal government would allow companies to intentionally harass and harm animals," New York State Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “These seismic testing surveys put marine animals in grave danger and are used for offshore drilling – another dangerous practice that would further threatened them and the health of our entire planet."

"New York will continue to step up and step in to stop these dangerous and unnecessary practices," James added. 

According to the news release, five private companies applied for permits from the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in order to use the air guns to look for oil and gas under the Atlantic Ocean floor.  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) also received requests from those companies for "incidental harassment authorizations" (IHAs) due to the expected affects on marine mammals, some of which are endangered and threatened species, James' office said. 

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