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Groups Want Navy to Stop Blasting Exercises

•  Justice Stories     updated  2008/08/05 08:42

Environmental groups seek an injunction barring the U.S. Navy from detonating powerful explosives during training exercises in Puget Sound. These so-called "Explosive Ordinance Disposal" operations kill thousands of fish and harm other marine life, the groups claim in Federal Court.

The drills, which are performed three to five times a month, are designed to teach divers to dispose of underwater explosives. Technicians must locate a dummy mine, place the charge, detonate it, retrieve debris and inspect the site.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service speculated that each exercise could kill more than 5,000 fish.

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Wild Fish Conservancy say the fish casualties are particular dire for threatened species, including Puget Sound Chinook salmon, Hood Canal summer-run chum salmon and bull trout.

Plaintiffs seek an injunction barring explosives training or an order requiring the Navy to take measures to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitat.

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