N.J. seismic survey critics seek to rally opposition

Critics of scientists’ plans to study the deep ocean floor off New Jersey using seismic airguns say they will rally on Wednesday in Barnegat Light, seeking to organize opposition among the Long Beach Island summer resorts, after federal ocean regulators turned down New Jersey’s request to review the imminent project.

The group Clean Ocean Action and its allies in the fishing industry say they worry the loud underwater booming of airguns — generating sonic waves that penetrate deep sediments in the ocean bottom — will disrupt the movements and behavior of fish and marine mammals like porpoises and whales.

On Tuesday, Clean Ocean Action director Cynthia Zipf said she had learned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had turned down a review request from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Under the state’s Coastal Zone Management Act, the DEP had claimed a right to review the plan by researchers from Rutgers University, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and the University of Texas.

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