Court clears seismic testing off NJ

A federal appeals court is allowing research off of New Jersey’s coast that will involve blasting loud noises on the Atlantic Ocean’s floor.

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection had sued to stop the testing by two universities and the National Science Foundation, The Associated Press reported Monday. The state and environmentalists said the seismic testing would harm marine life and hurt recreational and commercial fishing.

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“Needless to say, we are extremely disappointed with this ruling and the fact that the federal government is pushing it at this time of year,” Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state agency, told AP.

Clean Ocean Action, which has led environmental opposition to the testing, also said it was disappointed in the ruling. Some environmental groups also believe the testing could lead to oil and gas drilling.

Testing can now begin immediately, AP said. Researchers want to study sediments along the ocean floor that have changed over more than 60 million years along with sea levels.