Sonar testing is detrimental to orcas

Seattle Post Intelligencer

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Letters to the Editor

MILITARY PRESENCE

Now that military families and their boosters in the Pacific Northwest can breathe a collective sigh of relief, having once again increased their ranks during the latest round of base closures, it is time for our elected officials to address the full impact of the military’s growing presence here.

While the state has purchased lands adjacent to bases to limit encroachment, complementary efforts have not occurred in marine operating areas. It has been two years since the USS Shoup clearly harassed, if not harmed, our most resident orca family, J pod, with its midfrequency sonar. The Shoup is just one of five Naval vessels stationed in our waters capable of deploying the submarine-detecting acoustic technology.

After the incident with J pod in the San Juan Islands, the Navy committed to provide researchers sighting information to help track winter orca movements. The Navy is no longer providing sighting data, but is proposing to expand their ranges in Hood Canal and the Olympic Coast Sanctuary and still wants to exercise their sonar in state waters.

With transient orcas frequenting Hood Canal, depleted uranium ammunition being used off the Olympic coast, insufficient oil spill response equipment and with PCBs polluting bases, there is still much to be addressed.

Fred Felleman
NW Director, Ocean Advocates
Seattle

~ by fredfelleman on May 18, 2005.

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