Environmental groups to sue over offshore drilling tests

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Environmental groups plan to sue the Trump administration over offshore drilling tests, launching a legal fight against a proposal that has drawn bipartisan opposition along the Atlantic Coast, two people with direct knowledge of the pending litigation told The Associated Press on Monday.

The lawsuit, which aims to stop the issuance of permits for the use of seismic air guns, will be filed by a coalition of environmental groups in federal court in South Carolina on Tuesday, according to the individuals. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly before the suit is filed.

The Trump administration has authorized five such permits, which aim to find oil and gas formations deeply below the Atlantic Ocean floor, from Delaware to central Florida, an area where seismic surveys haven't been conducted in decades.

The blasts are conducted in preparation for potential offshore drilling, which the administration has proposed to expand from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to private development.

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