Live-Fire Training Discussed at Coast Guard Hearing

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
At a U. S. Coast Guard meeting regarding proposed live-fire training on the Great Lakes, environmental leaders expressed were worried that machine gun training will add lead to the water and upset birds in the air to peace activists and boaters, most of the 20 speakers urged the Coast Guard to delay action until more studies are conducted. The Coast Guard wants to establish 34 zones on the Great Lakes, including four on Lake Erie, where crews can practice using mounted machine guns. The training would occur two to three times a year in each zone, for two to six hours at a time. Each zone is at least five miles offshore. James Maughan, vice president of CH2Mhill, was hired by the Coast Guard to study the human and environmental risks posed by the bullet's lead and other metals.

Even overestimating the risks, all levels were well within safe margins, Maughan told the audience. But the Sierra Club, the Earth Day Coalition, Kucinich and others said the Coast Guard had bypassed thorough reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act. The Coast Guard announced the training proposal in August. Written comments will be accepted through Nov. 13 at Docket Management Facility (USCG-2006-2567), U.S. Department of Transportation, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001. For more information, visit www.uscgd9safetyzones.com. Source: Plain Dealer

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