FILE - This April 27, 2010 file photo shows an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the Chandeleur Islands, off the Southeastern tip of Louisiana. From above, five years after the BP well explosion, the Gulf of Mexico looks clean, green and whole again, teeming with life: a testament to the resilience of nature. But there’s more than surface shimmering blue and emerald to the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill. And it’s not nearly as pretty a picture, nor as clear. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Photo: Gerald Herbert
Photo: Gerald Herbert

Georgia environmentalists among those asking court to block seismic testing

A coalition of Georgia and South Carolina environmental groups have asked a federal court to block the start of any seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Brunswick-based conservation group One Hundred Miles is one of several environmental organizations to ask the court to halt any seismic testing while a lawsuit the groups filed to permanently block the practice works its way through the legal system. 

Several coastal South Carolina towns and the state’s attorney general filed a lawsuit in December to prevent seismic testing.

The Trump administration late last year approved five companies to use seismic testing to search for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic. One of the companies, Houston-based CGG, is authorized to test off the Georgia coast.

Seismic testing uses loud blasts of sound to check for oil and natural gas under the ocean floor.

The environmentalists argue that not only does seismic testing potentially lead to what they believe is the harmful offshore drilling of oil, but also harms marine life ranging form zooplankton to the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Alice Keyes with One Hundred Miles said the organization will do whatever it takes to protect the marine life from damage that could be caused from seismic testing

“Georgia’s coast, and the Southeastern United States, is home to rich, diverse, and valuable marine life upon which our local economies depend,” Keyes said.

A bipartisan group of coastal Georgia lawmakers have filed legislation that would declare the state’s opposition to seismic testing and offshore drilling.

Similar legislation has failed to gain traction in the past, but lawmakers are hopeful this year because Gov. Brian Kemp has said he opposes allowing the practice off the Georgia coast.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.