LFAS Agrees to Hold Public Hearings

Bowing to an extraordinary number of requests, both from the public and from members of Congress, the National Marine Fisheries Service has agreed to hold three public hearings on the Navy's Low Frequency Active (LFA) sonar program. Now that we have secured an opportunity to be heard, it is crucial that we all take advantage of it. This email lays out the dates, times, and locations of these hearings and describes how you can participate.

--On *April 26*, there will be a public hearing in *Los Angeles, California*. It will take place from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Renaissance Hotel, 9620 Airport Boulevard (near LAX).

--On *April 28*, there will be a public hearing in *Honolulu, Hawaii*. It will take place from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Marriott Waikiki Beach Hotel, 2552 Kalakaua Avenue.

--On *May 3*, there will be a public hearing in *Silver Spring, Maryland*, just outside of Washington, D.C. It will take place from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon in the Auditorium of Silver Spring Metro Center Building 4, 1301 East-West Highway.

The hearings will begin with a brief presentation from the National Marine Fisheries Service; after this, members of the public will have the opportunity to speak: to raise questions about LFA, to articulate your concerns, and finally to urge the Fisheries Service to withdraw its proposed rule allowing the Navy to harass, injure, or kill marine mammals.

(Speakers will probably be limited to 3-5 minutes.) Making a statement is a fine way of participating in the process, but please don't feel you have to speak: what is most essential and meaningful is that you attend. NRDC will provide more information--at least on events in California--as the hearing dates draw near.

I do not need to tell you how important these hearings are. They are our signal opportunity to demonstrate the rising level of public concern about this issue--and to demonstrate this not only to NMFS, which in its initial unwillingness to hold hearings of any kind deeply underestimated the public's interest, but to the press and to our representatives in Congress, whom we have begun to ask for oversight. If you will be in California, Hawaii, or the Washington, D.C. area, I urge you to attend; if you work locally or regionally on environmental issues, please inform your colleagues or constituents as well.

If you have questions, suggestions, or outreach information to pass along, please contact me at the number/address below. And thanks to everyone for getting the word out--

Michael Jasny, Associate
Natural Resources Defense Council
6310 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 250
Los Angeles, CA 90048
tel/fax 323-934-2138

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