President Trump to begin seismic surveys in Atlantic in drilling push

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration is moving forward on seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, the first step toward offshore drilling in a region where it has been blocked for decades.

The Interior Department says it is reviewing six applications by energy companies that were rejected by the Obama administration.

Environmental groups and many East Coast lawmakers oppose the surveys, saying loud sounds from seismic air guns could hurt marine life.

The oil and gas industry has pushed for the surveys, which map potential drilling sites for oil and natural gas. No surveys have been conducted in the mid-and south-Atlantic regions for 30 years.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month aimed at expanding drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The order reverses an action by President Barack Obama.