Unrep MSC to amphib

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

National Defense Exemption for Sonar Training

Some common sense at work here:
Following consultation with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense today announced authorization of a two-year National Defense Exemption from requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) for naval activity involving mid-frequency active sonar use, and a new sensor that uses small explosive charges, during major training exercises and on established ranges and operating areas. This period provides the Navy time necessary to continue coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the public as the Navy continues its analysis of activities on major range complexes and obtains any necessary authorizations from NOAA.

The Navy’s position is that continued training with active sonar is absolutely essential in protecting the lives of our Sailors and defending the nation. Increasingly quiet diesel-electric submarines continue to proliferate throughout the world. “The Navy has worked closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on our long-term compliance strategy, and the National Defense Exemption is an agreed upon part of the strategy. It allows both agencies to apply resources to the long-term plan,” said Navy Rear Adm. James Symonds, director of environmental readiness. “We will continue to employ stringent mitigation measures, developed with NOAA’s concurrence, to protect marine mammals during all sonar activities.”

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