Seismic testing is a precursor to offshore oil and gas drilling, whereby drilling companies blast loud sounds in the ocean floor to search for areas to drill.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Environmental Commissioner Catherine McCabe, in a Thursday statement, contend that process on its own could lead to environmental damage given the damage caused by the loud blasts.
Grewal said that the process alone should be grounds to halt the seismic testing because it would violate several environmental protection laws enacted by Congress.
The federal government granted permits to five companies eyeing potential drilling off the Jersey shore – which Grewal and the other eight plaintiffs are seeking to reverse.
“The federal government is putting the fossil fuel industry above New Jersey’s residents, above our environment and above the law,” Grewal said at a press event in Belmar.
New Jersey will be joining New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, Virginia, Maine and Massachusetts in the suit, filed in the South Carolina Charleston Division.
Grewal contends that “$44 billion in tourism revenue” and “800,000 jobs” at the Jersey shore would be at stake should any incident arise during seismic testing or offshore drilling.