The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will start testing water for contaminants including arsenic, benzene and mercury as part of its ongoing efforts to protect the oceans, the agency announced Wednesday.EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, a climate change skeptic, said she is “deeply committed” to protecting dolphins from these contaminants, which are believed to pose a threat to the health of the species.
The tests will begin in the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean, McCarthy said in a statement.
They are aimed at finding whether any of the substances in the water are harmful to the animals.
The testing will be conducted by the agency’s Environmental Protection Branch, and will take place in both large, deep-sea and shallow-water areas.
The tests are expected to take about a year to complete.
McCarthy, who was sworn in to her second term as EPA administrator last week, is the latest in a series of prominent officials to take a stance against the controversial drilling practices at the heart of the oil and gas boom.
The Obama administration has been working to reduce emissions from oil and natural gas drilling and mining, but has come under fire for its controversial policies and regulations.