JANUARY 24, 2006 -- The Navy wants to build a $100 million sonar range 50 miles off the Onslow County coast at Camp Lejeune. It's their most-favored of three possible locations, and the range would cover about 600 square miles.
Environmental scientists worry about the effect the sonar pinging would have on marine life, especially the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. It's estimated that there are only about 350 of these whales left in the world, and after the mass stranding of 34 pilot whales on the Outer Banks a year ago that coincided with a Navy sonar exercise nearby, we think their concern is justified.
Commercial and charter fishermen are concerned about the effects on fishing stocks and the potential closure of productive fishing grounds during the estimated 160 sonar exercises each year.
There's no economic benefit to the region for building the site off our coast, so with the potential negative environmental and economic concerns, we'd prefer the Navy choose another site.