More SONAR deployment – 01/09/2007

  • November 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm #1363

    And we all know what that means. ~Rocky

    The U.S. Navy is reviving a plan to deploy its most invasive sonar system across 75 percent of the world’s oceans, potentially threatening the survival of entire populations of whales and other marine mammals. Four years ago, NRDC defeated an identical proposal in court, forcing the Navy to dramatically restrict its use of low frequency active (LFA) sonar. Despite mounting evidence of sonar’s dangers, the Navy is again seeking permission to blast oceans worldwide with ear-splitting sound.

    “By requesting this sweeping permit, the Navy has taken a major step backward in minimizing the impacts of sonar,” said Joel Reynolds, director of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project. “If necessary, we will return to court and block this outrageous breach of our environmental laws.” NRDC has sent a letter urging the National Marine Fisheries Service to reject the Navy’s new proposal, which abandons or severely curtails a range of safety measures that are currently in effect, thanks to previous NRDC legal action. LFA sonar is designed to detect submarines by bombarding them with low-frequency sound waves. By the Navy’s own estimate, the resulting noise can travel more than 300 miles at levels known to disturb whales. At close range, this noise can destroy a whale’s eardrums, cause its lungs to hemorrhage and even kill. At greater distances, it can disrupt mating, feeding and other essential activities.

    In August 2003, NRDC and our partners made a major advance in our long-term campaign to rein in deadly LFA sonar when a district court judge ordered the Navy to negotiate a set of measures to help protect marine mammals. That agreement restricted the Navy’s peacetime use of LFA sonar to a limited area of the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to reach a decision on the Navy’s latest permit request by July.

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