On December 11, 2018, several environmental and conservation groups filed a complaint against the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and Wilber Ross, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is NMFS’ parent agency. This complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. It challenges five Incidental Harassment Authorizations for oil and gas seismic and other exploratory operations in the Atlantic Ocean. NMFS recently issued these IHAs under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”). The plaintiffs allege that NMFS violated the MMPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act when NMFS issued these permits.
Click here for a copy of the plaintiffs’ complaint.