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Oil Drilling Ban Won’t Stop Seismic Testing, Trump Officials Say

Sept. 22, 2020, 4:23 PM

President Donald Trump’s recent memo barring offshore oil and gas development off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina won’t affect seismic testing because they are separate processes, the federal government said in a brief filed in a South Carolina federal court.

Coastal states, cities, and environmental groups sued in 2018 after the National Marine Fisheries Service issued “incidental harassment authorizations” for seismic testing for oil and gas reserves. The authorizations allow companies to conduct airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean that may harm marine mammals including whales and dolphins.

NMFS failed to consider the cumulative impacts of such...

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