Clean Ocean Action



Third Circuit Court Rules Seismic Survey Can Proceed


Clean Ocean Action Concerned for Marine Life

Christie Administration sought injunction from Federal Court to stop ocean blasting

Decision comes after COA and partner groups held rally opposing study attended by 300+ citizens and elected officials in Barnegat Light, NJ

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Update: July 14, 2014

The brief reprieve marine life had from seismic blasting off the Jersey Shore appears to be over.  On July 14, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have temporarily stopped the seismic survey being conducted off the coast of New Jersey.  NJDEP filed the request last Thursday on an emergent basis, seeking to reverse the District Court’s denial of an injunction last Tuesday.  The preliminary injunction would have remained in effect for the duration of the litigation and until the District Court ruled on the merits of NJDEP’s claims.

Upon learning of the Third Circuit’s decision today, Cindy Zipf, the Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, stated, "This is a very disappointing decision for marine life and for those who depend on a clean and healthy ocean.  It is upsetting that the blasting of our ocean be allowed to continue during the legal challenge.  COA is confident that the State will eventually prevail in court because the State and its citizens were denied important opportunities to review the proposal.  However, that decision will come too late to save a single creature from this project.”

Clean Ocean Action had filed an amicus brief with the Third Circuit last Thursday, urging the Court to grant the injunction in order to prevent any harm to marine life and to commercial and recreational users of the vast project area.  COA stressed to the Court the public interest in this litigation.

The litigation will now return to the District Court where the federal court will ultimately decide if federal agencies violated the law in denying NJDEP’s request to conduct a federal consistency review of the project, and in denying the public an opportunity to review the final environmental assessment of the project by its primary funder, the National Science Foundation.  But for now, the Rutgers-led survey—which will send seismic blasts into the ocean every 5 seconds, 24 hours a day, for the next 30 days, may now resume.  That is, provided, the research vessel, the Marcus G. Langseth, proves to be seaworthy.  Last Wednesday, the ship returned to port for “necessary repairs,” court papers revealed. 


July 8, 2014

District Court Denies NJDEP Request for Temporary Injunction

Read COA's Press Release about the district court's decision on Tuesday, July 8.

This court action follows a rally two weeks ago where over 300 citizens, many organizations from across the state, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, commercial and recreational fishing leaders, scientists, divers, elected officials, marine mammal protectors — gathered at an emergency meeting in Barnegat Light.  All expressed outrage that  the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Science Foundation signed permits and put hundreds of whales, dolphins, and thousands of other marine life at grave risk.  The ship started out to their target waters before the final documents were made publicly available.

The fight is not over.  And New Jersey has made that clear by taking them to court.  We also have the support of the entire coastal congressional delegation, and both US Senators, many state legislators and local officials.  Indeed, representatives from every town on LBI and surrounding communities attended the meeting.
A large coalition of groups organized the rally including: the Anglers Conservation Network; Berkeley Striper Club; Clean Ocean Action; CWA Local 1075; Captain Paul Eidman - Reel Therapy Fly and Light Tackle Charters; Mayor Kirk Larson - Barnegat Light; Jersey Coast Anglers Association;  New Jersey Beach Buggy Association; New Jersey Council of Divers; New Jersey Outdoor Alliance; New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; Point Pleasant Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative; Recreational Fishing Alliance; Save Barnegat Bay; Surfrider Foundation Mid-Atlantic Region; Captain Eddie Yates - United Boatmen of New Jersey; and Viking Village.

More groups and citizens are joining every day.

Read NJDEP's Press Release about their legal efforts to stop the survey.

View NJ's legal papers on the request to seek injunctive relief in federal court.



The purpose of the Rutgers led study is to generate 3-D images of 30-60 million year old sea floor sediments to gauge climate change. As core samples have already been taken in the same area, the value of the study is questionable against the impending environmental and economic impacts.  Further, New Jersey understands sea level rise — Superstorm Sandy left no doubt.

Review Rutgers University's prepared summary of the study which misrepresents the timing's impacts to marine life and The National Science Foundation's award abstract that clearly states the study's results could have relevance to the fossil fuel industry.

Review the State's letter and Clean Ocean Action's coalition letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service requesting the authorization permit to harass marine life be denied.

Read more on COA's blog.

Click here for links to various news outlets reporting on this issue.



COA Comments on NJ Post-Sandy Action Plan

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is issuing its second round of disaster relief funding to states hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, and New Jersey has been allocated $1.463 billion.  Prior to disbursement of these funds, the State is required to update its action plan that details remaining unmet needs and how this round of funding will be used.  Clean Ocean Action presented oral comments at two of the three public hearings held by the State to solicit input on the amended action plan, and yesterday sent a letter to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Read more at COA's blog.

Save Our Shore from LNG!

The fight against Liquefied Natural Gas & Port Ambrose needs your help!

UPDATE 12/5/13: The New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee unanimously passed a resolution opposing the proposed offshore facility Port Ambrose. The resolution was introduced by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) along with an identical resolution in the Assembly (AR205) introduced by Assemblyman Sean Kean (R-30) and is co-sponsored by Asw. Diane Gove (R-9), Asm. Brian Rumpf (R-9), and Asm. Ruben Ramos (D-33). The resolutions are supported by 25 organizations in New Jersey who signed on to a letter urging the legislature to adopt the resolution.

UPDATE 11/1/13: The US Coast Guard announced a 90-day hold on processing the proposed Liberty LNG Port Ambrose offshore deepwater liquefied natural gas facility due to a lack of critical important information, several major application deficiencies, and many unaddressed federal requirements. Read more here!

Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo can still veto this project.  Call and tell our elected officials that you are against the Port Ambrose LNG project.

You can reach Governor Christie at (609) 292-6000 and Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390.

Main Office:
Clean Ocean Action
18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite 2
Highlands, NJ 07732
Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

A member of Earth Share of New Jersey