Last week we reported about the Trump Administration’s announcement to approve offshore seismic drilling tests in the Atlantic. The announcement from the National Marine Fisheries Service included five approvals to conduct seismic tests for potential offshore drilling, which was met with immediate opposition. But as we just learned from ABC News this week, mere days after the announcement, that opposition now includes a lawsuit that has been filed in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina.

The opposition stems from concerns by environmental groups and government officials alike that such tests would harm, if not kill, thousands of marine life, including dolphins and whales. According to ABC News, “The lawsuit filed in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, claims the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued five permits for the use of seismic air guns.”

The coalition of environment groups who filed the lawsuit include OCEANA, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Center for Biological Diversity, Surfrider Foundation and the Sierra Club. ABC News has more:

The blasts are conducted in preparation for potential offshore drilling, which the administration has proposed to expand from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation’s offshore reserves to private development.

Survey vessels will be required to carry observers to listen and watch for marine life and alert operators if a protected species comes within a certain distance. Surveys would be shut down when certain sensitive species or groups are observed, and penalties could be imposed for vessels that strike marine animals.

But the precautions aren’t enough for environmental groups, who’ve said the blasts can disturb wildlife. Industry groups say the surveys have been conducted around the world for decades, with little adverse impact.

Read the full story on ABC News.

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