Navy Weapons Training off Florida Coast

Navy Plans Weapons Training off Florida Coast

Despite opposition from environmental agencies, the Navy wants permission to build a weapons-testing complex off the east coast of Florida that could harm marine mammals, according to a notice published in the Federal Register. The Navy program will train soldiers to use air-to-surface weapons. The Navy requested the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) permission to “take” up to two dolphins per year as a result of the training exercises. The Environmental Protection Agency criticized the plans because several endangered whale species use the region. It also fears hazardous waste will be left in the area, and possibly harm sea turtles. The Marine Mammal Commission, an independent agency created by Congress under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, also criticized the proposal, saying the Navy’s approach “fails to meet the standards of” the law. The Commission questioned the scientific validity of the Navy’s arguments and requested that the Navy conduct more thorough review of potential biological impacts in coordination with NMFS. – from Integrity in Science Watch (Dec 22, 2008)

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