The information below shows OMI's involvement with IONC in the early days of opposing the US Navy regarding two key issues about ocean noise.
(Links have been updated where possible as of March 19, 2016.)
The IONC has responded in writing to two issues that threaten to significantly impact marine life:
Issue 1: US Navy Undersea Warfare Training Range - Active mid-frequency sonar training range planned for the East Coast United States
Issue 2: US Navy SURTASS LFA Sonar Draft Supplemental EIS
The stated purpose of this sonar range is to train US Navy personnel on the use of active sonar to find, track and pursue submarines in the littoral or shallow zone. The Navy's preferred choice for the range is off the coast of central North Carolina. Its second and third preferences are Virginia, near Wallops Island, and the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.
According to the Navy's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), the active sonar range:
Will be the first of its kind in the world.
Would be used as often as 161 times a year.
Submarines from all three Eastern homeports - Norfolk, VA; Groton, CT; and Kings Bay, GA. - would use the range, as would war ships, helicopters and planes from various bases.
The Navy envisions four scenarios for the range, the most extensive of which would involve two surface ships, two helicopters and a submarine
The range would cover 500 square miles and would be outfitted with about 300 underwater microphones, or nodes
Most exercises would not use live weapons; but once a year, each ship would be permitted to fire one anti-submarine rocket at a simulated target.
Two government agencies sent in written responses to the Navy's DEIS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). The IONC also sent a written response. (See UPDATE below.)
The US Navy is planning to double the number of ships that will use SURTASS LFA. The Navy also plans to widen the geographic areas in which SURTASS LFA will operate, from a restricted region of the Pacific Ocean to broad ocean basins including the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and Mediterranean Sea. Navy's DEIS for LFA
The IONC response to the Navy's LFA EIS, along with other organization responses, are available in the UPDATE below.
The US Navy maintains a web site for SURTASS LFA and its environmental impact.
Specific info on: 2005 Draft Environmental Impact Statement for SURTASS LFA Sonar.
The three responses (noted above) and the responses of other organizations are public record now.
All comments can be read in Volume 2 of the Final Supplemental EIS for SURTASS LFA Sonar, April 2007.
Click here for Volume 1 (.pdf file).
The US Navy continues to use underwater sonar and lists more recent documents for public download.
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