I came across an interesting article in the LA times about the Navy releasing a Marine Mammal impact report. This is significant to us because we will be depicting a Naval officer talking about the impact of sonar on marine mammals in our movie “Way of the Dolphin”, and this helps us be able to be sure we are being accurate. Here’s the major portion of the article:
After losing a series of lawsuits, the Navy for the first time today will release a massive study that examines the potential collateral damage to wildlife when training sailors to use sonar, drop bombs, fire missiles and help Marines storm beaches in Southern California.
The environmental impact statement, fatter than the Los Angeles phone book, comes after federal judges have repeatedly ruled that the Navy failed to do a proper assessment on how to protect whales and dolphins from sonar used to hunt submarines.
The document is likely to be challenged by the California Coastal Commission and environmental groups for failing to recommend adequate environmental safeguards, state officials and lawyers said.
The Navy has stuck with its own safeguards to avoid harming marine mammals, and has not adopted those imposed on this year’s exercises by federal judges, such as keeping sonar-emitting ships at least 12 nautical miles off the coast.
Marine mammals are particularly abundant in California coastal waters and include gray whales that migrate through the area twice each year.