N.J. going to federal court to block seismic tests off coast

The Christie Administration is taking legal action to halt a federally approved seismic ocean survey that is scheduled to start this month off the New Jersey coast.

Environmentalists and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection believe the testing could adversely impact the state’s vital tourism and fishing industries, and marine life.

The state has filed legal papers to seek injunctive relief in federal court Tuesday to prevent the seismic research.

“The powerful blasts and sounds used to map the ocean floor over the 30-day period would have a physical effect on the mammals,” said DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has denied a state request to review the project, in which researchers aim to use acoustic equipment to chart sea level changes dating back millions of years. They hope the data will yield clues to future patterns.

The study area is about 15 miles southeast of Barnegat Inlet off Long Beach Island.

The study is funded by the National Science Foundation and led by Rutgers University.

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