A federal court judge issued, on January 18, that the federal government can not process seismic testing permits for offshore drilling during the ongoing government shutdown, according to Reuters. The decision was ruled in response to motion filed by a range of conversation and business groups that are opposed to the administration’s efforts to expand U.S. offshore drilling.
Specifically, the Justice Department noted that it didn’t have the resources it needed in order to proceed to court because of the government shutdown.
The Judge added that he couldn’t grant permission for seismic operations until the government’s re-opening.
Also, as stated by Reuters, the Interior Department has recalled employees, including those at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), to keep on working on permitting for onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling and testing despite the shutdown, drawing criticism from Democrats and environmentalists.
Judge Richard Gergel stated that
The Court hereby enjoins the federal defendants, BOEM, and any other federal agency or entity from taking action to promulgate permits…or take any other official action regarding the pending permit applications for oil and gas surveys in the Atlantic.
Concluding, Trump administration plans to open up offshore drilling along the eastern seaboard has riled state governments, including Republican-leaning South Carolina, who believe seismic testing and offshore drilling will harm their tourism industries.