On Thursday, attorneys generals from nine U.S. states sued the Trump administration to stop future seismic tests for oil and gas deposits off the East Coast, joining a lawsuit from environmentalists concerned the tests harm whales and dolphins. The lawsuit names Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the National Marine Fisheries Service as defendants. It also says the prospect of seeing marine mammals is an important draw for tourists to the states and helps coastal economies.
Conservationists say the testing, a precursor to oil drilling, can disorient marine animals that rely on fine-tuned hearing to navigate and find food. They added that the tests lead to beachings of an endangered species, the North Atlantic right whale. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said the tests would harm marine species, jeopardize coastal ecosystems and pose a “critical threat” to the natural resources, jobs and lives of New Yorkers. The other attorneys general are from Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia. They joined a suit by conservationists filed earlier this month by groups including the Coastal Conservation League, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Oceana.
The Department of Commerce declined to comment.
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