Christie Administration sought injunction from
Federal Court to stop ocean blasting
Decision comes after COA and partner groups held rally opposing study attended by 300+ citizens and elected officials in Barnegat Light, NJ
The brief reprieve marine life had from seismic blasting off the Jersey Shore appears to be over. 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.
Upon learning of the Third Circuit's decision, Cindy Zipf, the Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, stated, "This is a very disappointing decision for marine life and for those who depend on a clean and healthy ocean. It is upsetting that the blasting of our ocean be allowed to continue during the legal challenge. COA is confident that the State will eventually prevail in court because the State and its citizens were denied important opportunities to review the proposal. However, that decision will come too late to save a single creature from this project."
Clean Ocean Action had 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.