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New Jersey's marine life, ocean and coastal communities just can't get any relief. Probably the worst threat imaginable will be occurring within a few days.

Recently COA, Clean Coastal Action and the NJ EPA, lost a case to prevent Rutgers University using sonic air gun blasts off the Jersey shore. This study was approved by the Obama administration as a climate change study designed to access deep sea sediments. Climate Change? WTF!? One thing is certain about the use of this technology in the Atlantic is that Obama is not fucking around.

On July 14, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have temporarily stopped the seismic survey being conducted off the coast of New Jersey.  NJDEP filed the request last Thursday on an emergent basis, seeking to reverse the District Court’s denial of an injunction last Tuesday.  The preliminary injunction would have remained in effect for the duration of the litigation and until the District Court ruled on the merits of NJDEP’s claims.
COA issued this statement:

While many have been fighting to stop seismic testing for oil and gas
exploration in the waters south of New Jersey, the public learned on
March 17th that a comparable seismic study is proposed off New Jersey’s
coast this summer.

A vast region off the Jersey Shore will be exposed to seismic airgun
blasts (like those for oil and gas research) and in addition, three other
acoustic blast technologies that may have harmful effects.

The purpose of the study is to assess to deep sea sediments from 60
million years ago to present to better understand climate change and
historical changes in sea level. However, the data gathered will be public
information and there is no doubt that the oil and gas industry could use
the data to look for gas deposits—especially methane hydrates, frozen natural gas, also known as fire ice. These can be found
well within the 11,500 foot depth range of the study.

Who is conducting the study? Researchers at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DEO), in
collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), University of Texas, and Rutgers University.

Location and duration: Just 15 miles off the Barnegat Inlet, NJ, in a 230 square mile area. The study will blast sound waves that are orders of magnitude louder than a jet plane at takeoff every 5 seconds continuously 24/7 for 30 days from July
through August. These astonishingly loud blasts will be emitted from up to 8 guns firing at once. The impact also will wreak havoc on marine life up and down the Jersey Shore.

Perhaps New Jersey will win in the end, but by that time untold thousands if not millions of marine life would have been slaughtered.

Clean Ocean Action has filed an amicus brief with the Third Circuit last Thursday, urging the Court to grant the injunction in order to prevent any harm to marine life and to commercial and recreational users of the vast project area.  COA stressed to the Court the public interest in this litigation.

The litigation will now return to the District Court where the federal court will ultimately decide if federal agencies violated the law in denying NJDEP’s request to conduct a federal consistency review of the project, and in denying the public an opportunity to review the final environmental assessment of the project by its primary funder, the National Science Foundation.  But for now, the Rutgers-led survey—which will send seismic blasts into the ocean every 5 seconds, 24 hours a day, for the next 30 days, may now resume.  That is, provided, the research vessel, the Marcus G. Langseth, proves to be seaworthy.  Last Wednesday, the ship returned to port for “necessary repairs,” court papers revealed.  
It is important to note that this testing is not specifically looking for deposits of oil, but the Oil Companies (Which the Obama Administration just approved) will be all over this information. And a added plus for the extraction industry is that since the marine mammals will be dead, there path to drilling is pretty much a done deal.

Please refer to The Watchersfor time line and additional information.

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