Active Military Sonar and Marine Mammals: Chronology with References [Updated November 3, 2005] [open pdf - 69KB]
"This report summarizes legal and political events related to active sonar and marine mammals since 1994. Prior to the late 1990s, concerns focused primarily on the use of underwater sound as a research tool. While strandings and mortality of marine mammals, primarily beaked whales, have been observed in concurrence with mid-frequency sonar operation, additional controversy has focused on the development of low-frequency active (LFA) sonar. Environmental interests are concerned with LFA sonar because low-frequency sound travels farther than mid-frequency sound and is closer in frequency to those known to be used by baleen whales. Additional questions involve how to balance obligations of the military to comply with MMPA provisions (as well as provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act) with national security concerns. Generally speaking, concern about the environmental effects of ocean noise is now principally focused on three activities--military sonar exercises, oil and gas exploration, and commercial shipping. This report summarizes some of the more significant recent events pertaining to active military sonar, in particular [...] The deployment of active sonar by the U.S. Navy and its potential impacts on marine mammals has been an ongoing issue of intense debate; regulatory, legislative, and judicial activity; and international concern. This report provides a chronology of significant events and documents since 1994 [...] It will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33133
Open CRS: http://www.opencrs.com/