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Radio News: Navy, NRDC agree to lessen sonar to help whales

Sep 16, 2015 10:33 pm
[caption width="297" align="alignright"] From Wikipedia.[/caption]

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Brian Palmer in On Earth magazine reports that the U.S. Navy has agreed to reduce sonar sounds in the Pacific that have been bombarding whales and dolphins with noise. Since 2003, activists have been winning in courts efforts to quiet the intense, high-volume sounds that can travel hundreds of miles in water. Last weekend, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the U.S. Navy reached a federal court agreement, with the navy silencing its sonar in areas around Southern California and Hawaii during certain periods of the year when marine mammal populations are most vulnerable. The agreement runs until the end of 2018, and at that point the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service should issue new environmental impact statements and authorizations regarding military exercises. Activists claim mass strandings of large marince animals sometimes coincide with nearby naval deployments. The noise is so loud, whales will do anything to avoid it, leaving the water, the theory goes. The Navy told the judge during proceedings that the proposed closures would hamper its “ability to adapt training” and “evolve as the threat emerges.” U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway described the national-security warnings as “pure hyperbole.” The NRDC says it will challenge sonar use in the Navy's other training areas, off the Pacific Northwest, in the Gulf of Alaska, and off northern Florida.
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