Calif. rejects US Navy offshore explosive training (Update)

Mar 08, 2013 by Julie Watson

California on Friday rejected a Navy offshore explosives and sonar training program that critics said could kill or deafen endangered whales, dolphins and other sea life.

California Coastal Commissioners meeting in San Diego ruled unanimously that the Navy lacked enough information to back up its argument that the threat to marine mammals would be negligible.

Scientists say there is still much to be learned about how much sonar activity affects marine animals. Studies have shown some species such as beaked whales may be adversely affected by some sonar.

The Navy has estimated that the proposed training program would kill 130 marine mammals and cause hearing loss in 1,600 over five years.

"We think these are underestimates," Michael Jasny with the Natural Resources Defense Council told the commissioners.

The panel and the Navy could now seek mediation to iron out their differences—or the Navy could simply choose to proceed with the training, as it did in 2007 and 2009. That probably would prompt the commission to sue in an effort to block the program, as it has in the past.

Before the vote Alex Stone, who directs the training program, told commissioners that the Navy opposed additional conditions that could make the training less realistic and reduce its scope.

Stone also said he believed the program has sufficient protections for sea life—an argument disputed by environmentalists who packed the meeting.

The Navy's testing area encompasses 120,000 nautical square miles (412,115 square kilometers) of the Pacific off the Southern California coast and includes a corridor between the state and Hawaii, among other areas.

The commission's staff had recommended that approval be contingent on a list of conditions. They included requiring that the Navy create safety zones that would guarantee no high-intensity sonar activity near marine sanctuaries and protected areas and in spots that experience a high concentration of blue, fin and gray whales seasonally.

The staff also said a kilometer from shore should also be off-limits to protect bottlenose dolphins.

The commission set out similar conditions to the Navy in 2007 and 2009, but the Navy refused to accept them both times.

The commission sued the Navy over the matter, leading to a preliminary injunction in 2008, though then-President George W. Bush gave an exemption for the training. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the lower court's decision.

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User comments : 10

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CapitalismPrevails
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 08, 2013
The enviroMENTAL wackos are also against any kind of progress in society. If you build power lines, that's bad. If you build desalination plants, that's bad. If you develop significantly cleaner coal technology, that's bad. If you support natural gas, that's bad. If you take a fart in the wind, that' bad.
Modernmystic
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 08, 2013
Environmentalists of some bent or another oppose EVERYTHING except marching lock step back into the jungle and using our dull teeth and fingernails to survive....

Anything else is evil and "unnatural"
packrat
3 / 5 (7) Mar 08, 2013
There is no real reason they can't go a few hundred miles out before playing these games either. They don't have to do it near shore lines where most fish and whales are. I spent 5 years on a destroyer and this crap is loud inside the ship when the explosions are quite a bit away. I can't even imagine what it's like in the water for animals and fish anywhere near close by. I'm not a big environmentalist when it comes to 'us or them' but I have to agree with the Commissioners on this one.
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2013
The enviroMENTAL wackos are also against any kind of progress in society. If you build power lines, that's bad. If you build desalination plants, that's bad. If you develop significantly cleaner coal technology, that's bad. If you support natural gas, that's bad. If you take a fart in the wind, that' bad.


Environmentalists of some bent or another oppose EVERYTHING except marching lock step back into the jungle and using our dull teeth and fingernails to survive....Anything else is evil and "unnatural"


Yeah, and I'm applying for a zoning permit variance to build a 24/7 gravel/grinding facility that directly abuts yer backyards.

How long before you two NIMBY hypocrites have mobilized a community-action lawsuit and injunction to stop the project --after all, it's "just some noise"?

Morons.

CapitalismPrevails
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2013

Yeah, and I'm applying for a zoning permit variance to build a 24/7 gravel/grinding facility that directly abuts yer backyards.

How long before you two NIMBY hypocrites have mobilized a community-action lawsuit and injunction to stop the project --after all, it's "just some noise"?

Morons.

If local governments/communities force your gravel facility elsewhere than that's fine by me. State level not so fine. Federal level(EPA) NOT FINE AT ALL. We don't need a command and control government over domestic issues. BTW, the local community will miss out on jobs and tax revenue if gravel facility leaves. Everything is a matter of trade off...Moron.
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2013

Yeah, and I'm applying for a zoning permit variance to build a 24/7 gravel/grinding facility that directly abuts yer backyards.

How long before you two NIMBY hypocrites have mobilized a community-action lawsuit and injunction to stop the project --after all, it's "just some noise"?

Morons.

If local governments/communities force your gravel facility elsewhere than that's fine by me. State level not so fine. Federal level(EPA) NOT FINE AT ALL. We don't need a command and control government over domestic issues. BTW, the local community will miss out on jobs and tax revenue if gravel facility leaves. Everything is a matter of trade off...Moron.


You've shot your feet with so many holes that I don't even need to expand upon the analogy for your hypocrisy.

I rest my case, moron(s).

CapitalismPrevails
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 09, 2013
You've shot your feet with so many holes that I don't even need to expand upon the analogy for your hypocrisy.

I rest my case, moron(s).


Care to elaborate or are you just out of bullets?
gurloc
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2013
The enviroMENTAL wackos are also against any kind of progress in society.


Explain to me exactly how the navy doing underwater explosives training exercises constitutes "progress in society". And who exactly do you think is going to launch a naval assault on the United States?

The US military spends 5 times as much as China and 10 times as much as Russia while over 40 million people in the US live in poverty. Demonstrate that these exercises are anything other than a complete waste of money and then you can make asinine comments about environmentalists.
geokstr
1 / 5 (4) Mar 11, 2013
And who exactly do you think is going to launch a naval assault on the United States?

No one. However, the US Navy may have to fight off the coast of China, or Russia, or North Korea. Perhaps we should ask them if it's OK if we conduct these tests in their coastal waters instead.
The US military spends 5 times as much as China...

The majority of the Defense budget is personnel related, because we actually give them salaries and benefits. If we could pay our soldiers two handfuls of rice a day too, we would spend a lot less.
...over 40 million people in the US live in poverty.

Yet our "poor" live as well or better than the middle class in many Euro nations, with flat screen TVs and cars and home ownership and computers and cell phones. When government services and rent subsidies and Medicaid and other "freebies are" considered, the average "poor" family in the US does quite well.
Caliban
not rated yet Mar 11, 2013

The majority of the Defense budget is personnel related, because we actually give them salaries and benefits. If we could pay our soldiers two handfuls of rice a day too, we would spend a lot less.


Bullshit.

I won't even bother to comment upon the content or quality of the rest of your post.

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