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Critics Oppose Looser Sonar Test Rules

An environmental group is upset about a proposed rule over the Navy's sonar testing. The rule would expand the testing area and remove other restrictions. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Critics Oppose Looser Sonar Test Rules

An environmental group is upset about a proposed rule over the Navy's sonar testing. The rule would expand the testing area and remove other restrictions. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has more.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is taking comment in two weeks on a plan to allow the U.S. Navy to use a sonar system in the world's oceans. A previous legal challenge resulted in several restrictions on the testing. But the National Resources Defense Council says the new rule would undo those restrictions. NRDC attorney Joel Reynolds says the group is not trying to block the Navy's testing and training.

Reynolds: But we believe that when they test and train, the Navy has an obligation to do so in a manner that minimizes the risk to marine species. Whales and other marine life should not have to die for practice, but that's what's happening.

He says if the new rule is approved, the group will again file a legal challenge. Scientists say high-intensity, mid-frequency sonar has been directly linked to mass standings of whales and the deaths of other marine mammals.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.