WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is authorizing use of seismic air guns to find oil and gas formations deep underneath the Atlantic Ocean floor, prompting outrage from critics who say the practice can disturb or injure whales, sea turtles and other marine life.

The National Marine Fisheries Service says it has authorized permits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act for five companies to use air guns for seismic surveys in the mid-Atlantic, from Delaware to central Florida.

The surveys are part of President Donald Trump’s bid to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic. The plan has drawn opposition from East Coast lawmakers and governors, who say it could hurt commercial fishing and tourism.

Seismic surveys have not been conducted in the region for at least 30 years.

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