Ocean advocates urge U.S. navy to stop tests

Ocean protection advocates urged the U.S. navy to temporarily halt 14 tests of high-powered sonar devices believed to be capable of causing unbearable pain to whales and other ocean mammals.

Ocean advocates urge U.S. navy to stop tests
Ocean protection advocates urged the U.S. navy to temporarily halt 14 tests of high-powered sonar devices believed to be capable of causing unbearable pain to whales and other ocean mammals.

To make their voices heard, a group of advocates will try to convince a federal judge Monday to convey their message to the U.S. navy.

Attorneys for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will make their case before a U.S. District Court. They are to ask for a temporary restraining order to block the navy from testing high-powered underwater noise generators that they say cause whales to intentionally beach themselves, either in confusion or in pain.

In court documents, NRDC officials cite evidence that "is very convincing and appears overwhelming" that the very-loud undersea noises can travel hundreds of miles and cause whale beachings.

At issue is a mid-frequency sonar system called the SURTASS LTA system, which animal rights activists say caused numerous whale and dolphin beachings when it was last tested in 2003.

The environmental groups are demanding that the navy takes what the NRDC calls "common sense" steps, like checking test areas and postponing the tests when marine mammals are in the area.

The navy says that active sonars have been used around the world since World War II. Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter has said an NRDC request to be notified of exactly when and where the sonar exercises will be conducted "could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally-grave damage to national security."

Agencies
Last Mod: 06 Ağustos 2007, 16:26
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