Oil and gas exploration in the U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean may put some legacy economic interests at risk, a consortium of area businesses said.

More than 10,000 business and hundreds of thousands of families tied to commercial fishing sent a letter through an Atlantic Coast business alliance to President Barack Obama urging him to hold off on expanding access to potential drillers.

Energy companies use seismic surveys to get a better understanding of the oil and gas reserve potential and some groups have expressed concern that action could have a detrimental impact on marine ecosystems. Seismic research could interfere with normal communication patterns for some marine species, though contractors said the impacts are temporary.

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