In the news...

December 18, 2013

Feds grant Navy permit for sonar training

Julie Watson
Associated Press

Environmental organizations filed a lawsuit Dec. 16 against the National Marine Fisheries Service to demand it force the Navy to consider alternatives to its five-year plan that will intensify its sonar use off Southern California and Hawaii.

Earthjustice, representing several groups, filed the lawsuit in federal court in Honolulu, only hours after the federal agency announced it had decided to grant the Navy permits to move ahead with its plans for training and testing in the Pacific.

Navy officials estimate its activities would have a negligible impact on marine mammal populations.

Environmentalists dispute that and favor creating zones that would be off-limits to biologically sensitive areas. They also want the Navy to avoid training in certain spots seasonally when they are rich in marine life.

The science is clear: sonar and live-fire training in the ocean harms marine mammals, said Marsha Green of Ocean Mammal Institute, which is among the groups suing. There are safer ways to conduct Navy exercises that include time and place restrictions to avoid areas known to be vital for marine mammals’ feeding, breeding and resting.

The Navy estimates that its activities could inadvertently kill 186 whales and dolphins off the East Coast and 155 off Hawaii and Southern California, mostly from explosives.

It calculates more than 11,000 serious injuries off the East Coast and 2,000 off Hawaii and Southern California, along with nearly 2 million minor injuries, such as temporary hearing loss, off each coast. It also predicts marine mammals might change their behavior – such as swimming in a different direction – in 27 million instances.

NMFS granted the permits for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico last month. The Pacific permit was the final one.

Environmentalists won a small victory in September when a federal judge ruled the marine fisheries agency did not consider the latest science when it granted permits last year.

In the Dec. 16 ruling, the agency said it will review the latest scientific data yearly with the Navy to determine if enough is being done to mitigate the risks.

The Navy is committed to complying with environmental laws and protecting the environment, Navy spokesman Kenneth Hess said when asked about the lawsuit.

Reported mass strandings of beaked whales have increased around the world since the military started using sonar more than half a century ago. The sounds can scare animals into shallow waters where they can become disoriented and wash ashore.

Aside from beachings, biologists are concerned about prolonged stress from changes in diving, feeding and communication habits. Only in the past decade have scientists had the technology to closely monitor the behavior of whales and dolphins.

Two recent studies off the Southern California coast found certain endangered blue whales and beaked whales stopped feeding and fled from recordings of noise similar to military sonar.

Beaked whales are highly sensitive to sound and account for the majority of strandings near military exercises.

Navy officials say it’s vital to national security that sailors receive realistic sonar training, and use simulators where possible.

Environmentalists want safety zones that would guarantee no high-intensity sonar activity near marine sanctuaries and areas where blue, fin and gray whales gather seasonally.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 7, 2015

News: F-35 loses dogfight to fighter jet from 1980s – A new report alleges that an F-35A was defeated by the very aircraft it is meant to replace.   Business: South Korea selects Airbus for $1.33 billion tanker contract – European aerospace giant Airbus won a $1.33 billion deal June 30 to supply air refueling...
 
 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph

Boeing, Embraer to collaborate on ecoDemonstrator technology tests

U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph Frederico Curado, president & CEO of Embraer, and Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, at the Brazil-U.S. Business Summit in Washington, D.C. The event occurred during an offici...
 
 
Untitled-2

Tactical reconnaissance vehicle project eyes hoverbike for defense

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, has been exploring the tactical reconnaissance vehicle, or TRV, concept for nearly nine months and is evaluating the hoverbike technology as a way to get Soldiers away from ground thre...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton

Upgraded AWACS platform tested at Northern Edge

Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton Maintenance crew members prepare an E-3G Sentry (AWACS) for takeoff during exercise Northern Edge June 25, 2015. Roughly 6,000 airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen ...
 
 
LM-Legion

Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod™ takes to skies

Lockheed Martin photograph by Randy Crites Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod recently completed its first flight test, successfully tracking multiple airborne targets while flying on an F-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Legion Pod was in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First Marine graduates Air Force’s F-35 intelligence course

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Marine Corps 1st Lt. Samuel Winsted, an F-35B Lightning II intelligence officer, provides a mock intelligence briefing to two instructors during the F-35 Intelligence Formal Train...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>