2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 17 Oct 2003 15:44:58 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Navy has good news for marine life
The following opinion piece can be viewed online at:
Navy has good news for marine life
Friday, October 17, 2003

The Navy's agreement to limit use of a new type of sonar is good news
for marine mammals.

Environmental groups and the Navy have agreed to limit the peacetime use
of the new low-frequency sonar to an ocean area that includes waters off
Japan, China and the Philippines. The agreement had been ordered by a
federal judge in a lawsuit over the extent of sonar use, which the Navy
says is needed to track ultra-quiet subs from China, Iran and North

Unfortunately, the U.S. House of Representatives is trying to exempt the
Pentagon from the Marine Mammal Protection Act's safeguards. The push is
premature if not completely wrongheaded.

Scientists and the Navy have barely begun to understand the effects of
sonar on sea-dwelling mammals. The Navy has acknowledged that sonar use
likely led to a Bahamas stranding incident in 2000 that killed beaked
whales. Last week, scientists suggested that sonar also caused the
deaths of whales in the Canary Islands last year. And scientists are
investigating whether sonar use May 5 may have led to the deaths of
harbor porpoises that washed up in the San Juan Islands.

Those incidents provide clear warnings about the House effort. The
agreement on low-frequency sonar allows its use during times of
heightened threat or war. Emerging knowledge argues for much greater
concern about sonar, not a panicky override of longstanding law.

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