Environmental groups suing over offshore drilling tests

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Environmental groups are suing President Donald Trump’s administration over plans to conduct offshore drilling tests.

A lawsuit from several environmental groups including OCEANA and the Southern Environmental Law Center filed Tuesday in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, aims to stop issuance of permits for the use of seismic air guns.

The Trump administration has authorized five such permits, which aim to find oil and gas formations deep below the Atlantic Ocean floor from Delaware to central Florida. Environmentalists say the blasts can disturb marine mammals.

South Carolina Republican state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch represents portions of the coast. He says he understands constituents’ fears about the potential for oil-related environmental problems but says seismic testing could lead to the discovery of natural gas deposits, which could be an economic boom.

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