A seismic research project that has faced steep criticism will be postponed to next summer.
The Press of Atlantic City reports that a project aimed at studying sea level rise by sending sound waves to the sea floor was postponed after mechanical failures stymied the research.
The testing was set to be conducted off the coast of Long Beach Island by Rutgers University, the University of Texas, and the National Science Foundation.
The purpose of the study was to use acoustic research to analyze sediments deposited on the ocean floor as a result of changing global sea levels.
The project faced steep opposition from environmentalists and elected officials who feared it would harm or kill marine life, including dolphins, turtles and whales. The study was finally approved in July when the 3rd Ciruit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected New Jersey’s request to block the testing.
The Rutgers professor in charge of the project said proponents of the project will seek a permit through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to do the research next year.
A representative from Clean Ocean Action said the group was thrilled by the postponement, but said they were disappointed that researchers appeared to be proceeding with plans to perform the seismic tests next year.
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The federal government has also been interested in sound blasting the ocean floor along New Jersey. The U.S. Geological Survey planned to map the outer limits of the Continental Shelf this summer and next. That would help scientists predict where and when tsunamis might occur.