Thursday, January 18, 2007

California Coastal Commission Limits U.S. Navy Sonar Use

LOS ANGELES, California, January 16, 2007 (ENS) - The California CoastalCommission has decided to approve two years of naval exercises off SouthernCalifornia but only if the U.S. Navy puts in place measures to protectmarine mammals from potentially lethal effects of noisy mid-frequency sonar.The vote taken Thursday represents the first time the Navy had sought theCommission's approval for mid-frequency sonar training, and the first timeCalifornia has imposed safety conditions for such exercises. The exercises will take place in waters off the continental United Statesthat host blue whales, humpbacks, gray whales, dolphins, porpoises and othersensitive species. "We don't have to choose between naval training and the protection of whalesand other marine life," said Cara Horowitz, a project attorney with theMarine Mammals Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC. "Whenheld to sound standards, the Navy has shown again and again that it cantrain effectively while minimizing risk to the marine environment." Whales around the world have been found dead or dying following encounterswith mid-frequency military sonar that fills the water with loud pulses ofsound.

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