RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The federal government has added 30 more days for the public to weigh in on its guidelines for seismic testing in Atlantic waters for oil and gas reserves. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says the public now has until May 7 to comment on the rules.

Earlier this year, the agency outlined environmental guidelines intended to protect marine life if the government allows the testing, which would be a first step in the development of an offshore oil industry off Virginia and other states in the Mid-Atlantic and off the southern coast.

A key provision of the environmental rules is intended to protect endangered right whales. The seismic testing would use new technology in areas that haven’t been studied in more than three decades.