No proof that sonar causes strandings

Posted: October 11, 2006

Jacqueline L. Urgo's article ("Marine Mystery at Shore," Aug. 27) suggested links between Navy "long range sonar" (which she doesn't define) off the East Coast, and recent atypical travel by and strandings of some marine mammals along the Atlantic seaboard.

In fact, no long-range sonar testing is taking place off the East Coast. While mid-frequency active sonar may affect some marine mammals (specifically beaked whales) under certain conditions, it is likely that a number of other sound sources and factors have a greater impact.

Overlooked causes of strandings include disease, pollution, parasite infestation, fishery entanglements, ship strikes, trauma, and starvation. National Marine Fisheries Service states that in most stranding cases (3,500-plus occur each year on U.S. shores), the cause is unknown.

Urgo lists theories to explain the mysterious phenomena, referring to research by scientists at Woods Hole and Scripps suggesting underwater sound generated by military and commercial ship traffic could be adversely affecting marine life.

No scientific evidence exists that sonar directly injures or kills marine mammals. We contacted each institution to find the research reflecting Urgo's assertions. Their research did not come to the conclusions represented in the article.

James A. Symonds

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Director

Environmental Readiness Division

Arlington, Va.

Jim's 'blessing'?

The following statements (Inquirer, Sept. 20) by Jim McGreevey say all that needs to be said about him: He said that living his secret life was . . . sinful, and coming out and writing the book was his "first step back to being godly" and "for me, it's no different than having brown eyes or blue eyes. . . . Being gay is a blessing from God."

Blessing from God?

It is not, of course, nor is admitting to doing homosexual activity a step back to being godly.

What we see here are two forces at work: 1) these statements are simply the typical rationalizations a libertine makes up to excuse his behavior (they are neither new nor progressive, but probably have been used from time immemorial); and 2) this book is another clumsy attempt by the left to mainstream homosexual activity.

As The Inquirer's sister paper, the Daily News, put it in a headline, it's "McCreepy!"

George Tomezsko

Philadelphia

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