Seismic search for oil in Atlantic Ocean looks dead for now

Seismic testing (Photo: NC Aquariums)

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — Seismic exploration for oil and gas off the south Atlantic coast is unlikely to proceed this year because permits expire Nov. 30.

Federal officials and company representatives both told a federal judge in South Carolina last week that there’s little point in continuing a lawsuit because the permits can’t be renewed.

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The testing shoots blasts of air, using the vibrations to map where oil and gas might be present below the ocean floor.

Environmentalists sued in federal court in Charleston seeking to block the exploration because the work has been shown to harm marine animals like the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

President Donald Trump recently banned oil drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, reversing previous support.