Planned seismic airgun testing off the Jersey Shore is still at the center of a heated debate.

Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06)
Photo by Megan Madison/Townsquare Media

As approvals for the study move forward, Shore Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) is spearheading a last-ditch effort to prevent the tests, which he fears for several reasons.

"First of all, the seismic testing has a negative impact on marine mammals and fish, and therefore the fishermen are very much opposed to it," Pallone said.  "And also, it could be used by the oil and gas industry to justify drilling."

Researchers with Rutgers University, which leads the study, say the tests are only designed to help chart climate change over the years.  But Jeff Tittel with the Sierra Club says those good intentions might have unforeseen consequences.

"That information will be public," Tittel said.  "It's not about climate research, it's really about research for the big oil companies that we're paying for."

Clean Ocean Action is circulating a petition to block the testing.  You can sign online here.