CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Conservation groups have asked a federal judge to block the start of harmful seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean until their case can be heard in court.
The injunction request states that the blasting harms marine animals and violates three federal laws including the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Environmental groups named in the lawsuit include Oceana, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Environmental Law Center. The lawsuit claims the National Marine and Fisheries Service violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued permits in November to five companies allowing them to conduct airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Seismic blasting will cause harm the moment it begins. We’re asking the court to prevent any seismic activity from going forward while it considers our claims that the Trump administration is violating multiple federal environmental laws,” said Michael Jasny, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In April 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to expedite the airgun blasting.
While the permits were secured by the companies through the National Marine and Fisheries Service, they must also still receive the permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, according to the suit.