Judge to hear request to halt ocean blasting research plan

 Graphic on sound blasting from Clean Water Action, a group opposed to the underwater survey.

Graphic on sound blasting from Clean Water Action, a group opposed to the underwater survey.

A federal judge will hear arguments this month by fishing groups who want him to shut down a research project that involves blasting the ocean floor off the coast of New Jersey with sound waves.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp will hear the groups’ request on July 15 for a temporary restraining order stopping the project.

Fishing groups and environmentalists say the research disturbs and can possibly harm marine life including dolphins, turtles and whales.

Rutgers University, the University of Texas and the National Science Foundation say they take extensive precautions to avoid harming marine life.

They also say the research can help coastal communities understand sea level change over millions of years to better protect against storms like Superstorm Sandy.

The research has been ongoing since June 1.

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