Nine States Join Lawsuit Over Offshore Drilling
Earlier this month, 16 communities on the coast of South Carolina filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against the Trump administration. The case was filed in response to permits that were issued to allow the exploration for natural gas an oil. On Thursday, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced that nine states are joining the lawsuit.
Why Are the States Against Offshore Exploration?
Attorneys general from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina have taken a stance against the proposed exploration. Representatives from each state cited concerns over the damage that seismic testing can cause to marine wildlife.
“Marine animals have highly sensitive hearing,” Frosh said. “Their hearing is what allows them to communicate, to navigate, to socialize, to hunt, to feed, and to mate. Hearing impairment can cause their death and blasts from arrays of air guns disrupts their lives and behaviors.”
Frosh continued to list the reasoning for the lawsuit in his statement. He claimed that the drilling could result in “severe and irreparable harm” to marine resources and the coastal economy.
What This Means for Offshore Drilling
In a statement about the lawsuit, a spokesman for Governor Henry McMaster kept the door open for negotiations with the White House. Spokesman Brian Symmes said that “he [Gov. Henry McMaster] shares a common goal with those who have decided to sign onto this lawsuit, he views such action as a last resort and will continue to work with the administration to ensure that we will never see seismic testing or drilling off of South Carolina’s coast.”
Florida is the only state that has been made exempt from offshore drilling by the current administration. If the lawsuit is successful, it could prevent permits from being issued to companies looking to do oil exploration in Atlantic waters and block the discovery of potential sites for new drilling to take place.