BARNEGAT LIGHT, N.J. — State environmental officials went to federal court Thursday trying to block a federally approved research plan that involves blasting the ocean floor off New Jersey with loud sound waves.
The state Department of Environmental Protection sought a court order to block the plan, which could begin next week.
No action was immediately taken on the state’s request. Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the DEP, said the department expects the court to consider the request and act on it Monday.
Rutgers University, the University of Texas and the National Science Foundation want to do research on sediments deposited on the ocean floor during changes in global sea levels dating back 60 million years. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has signed off on the request.
Environmentalists say the tests will harm dolphins, whales, turtles and other marine life. In its court papers, the DEP backed that stance.
The department said it believes the proposed research, which would use loud, powerful sound blasts to map the ocean floor over a 30-day period, will likely have a detrimental effect on New Jersey’s fisheries and marine mammals.