"Oceans: NMFS Proposal Lets Navy Harm 30M Marine Mammals"

"The Obama administration is proposing to allow the Navy to harm more than 30 million marine mammals while conducting exercises in two training ranges over the next five years."

"Under two proposed rules to be published in Thursday's Federal Register, the National Marine Fisheries Service would allow the Navy to kill, injure or disrupt the behavior of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals 9.6 million times in the Hawaii and Southern California training ranges and 21.8 million times in the Atlantic training range over a five-year period beginning in January 2014. That's roughly triple what the Navy was granted in the previous five-year period.

The increase has multiple causes. The growing military focus on the Pacific region creates a greater demand for naval forces, which will be acquiring new vessels and weapons systems in coming years that will need to be tested and trained on. Much of that equipment and training -- aimed at what military leaders see as a growing threat of submarine and mine warfare -- is noisy. Meanwhile, new scientific studies are showing that marine mammals are more sensitive to marine noise than previously thought. The new proposals also cover slightly more ocean territory than previous ones."

Annie Snider reports for Greenwire January 29, 2013.

Source: Greenwire, 01/30/2013