Shore Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) and State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) are asking Rutgers University to cancel plans to conduct seismic testing off the Jersey Shore.

Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) speaks against seismic testing in July 2014
(Megan Madison/Townsquare Media)

The pair sent a letter to Rutgers President Robert Barchi on Friday, sharing their concerns that the blasts could harm or kill marine animals and disrupt tourism and fishing.  Environmental groups are also worried that the testing could open the door for offshore oil and gas drilling off New Jersey's coast.

Rutgers researchers want to examine sediments on the ocean floor in order to study climate change.  They say the blasting is needed to create a 3-D map of the ocean floor that will help them track the effects of rising sea levels.

The testing was blocked last summer, but is scheduled to proceed off Long Beach island in June.  Opponents want to Rutgers to either cancel the plan entirely or postpone it until fall, when it would be less likely to impact marine life.