Navy hearings to focus on impact of sonar use
Public hearings will be held throughout the state next month on a Navy environmental study that would allow the continued use of sonar in the 270,250 square miles around the Hawaiian Islands, known as the Hawaii Range Complex.
On the Net:
The supplement, the draft environmental impact statement and more information about the Hawaii Range Complex are available online at www.govsupport.us/hrc.
The 116-page study is the supplement to a draft environmental impact statement that was released in July whose critical component focused on how marine mammals were affected by sonar used by the Navy.
Despite claims and lawsuits by environmental groups, the Navy maintains that there have been no documented cases of its sonar alone killing any marine mammals in the Pacific.
The 2007 environmental study included what the Navy considers the minimum mitigation efforts its crews and ships would be required to do when a marine mammal is sighted.
These rules included posting lookouts during the exercise and the use of only passive sonar when a marine mammal is seen within 200 yards of a vessel. Sightings of whales or dolphins also would require sonar operators to power down their equipment.
Schedule of hearings
The Navy will hold public hearings to gather comments about the supplement to the draft environmental impact statement of the Hawaii Range Complex. The hearings will begin at 5 p.m. and be held:
» March 13 at Kauai Community College, 3-1901 Kaumualii Highway in Lihue.
» March 14 at Maui Waena Intermediate School, 795 Onehee Ave. in Kahului.
» March 17 at Disabled American Veterans Memorial Hall, 2685 N. Nimitz Highway.
» March 18 at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, 71 Banyan Drive in Hilo.
In addition, written comments may be submitted by April 7 to Public Affairs Officer, Pacific Missile Range Facility, P.O. Box 128, Kekaha, HI 96752. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.