Environmental Assessment update U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR (May 11, 2001) -- The Navy met yesterday with federal and state agencies to review the environmental assessment it is preparing to determine whether moving Ehime Maru will have a significant impact on the environment.
The initial chapters of the draft assessment were delivered to the agencies last week and on Wednesday the Navy provided the remaining portions.
Support among the various agencies during the assessment has been strong. With this cooperation, the proposal to lift Ehime Maru from where it lies at 2,000 feet and moving it while still submerged to shallower water incorporates many measures to protect the environment.
For example, if the assessment determines there would be no significant impact on the environment and the Navy is able to proceed with its plan, the following actions are among those being proposed as part of the operation:
· Bird habitats would be inventoried before and after the operation;
· U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service personnel would be aboard oil skimmers to care for any birds that come in contact with the oil;
· Cargo nets, long-line fishing gear and other equipment that may become a hazard to reefs, turtles or other ocean life would be removed from the vessel;
· The ship's present location and the shallow-water site would be surveyed to ensure no material is left behind; and
· An extensive analysis of sea state and wind direction and speed, as well as real-time spot weather forecasts, would allow the Navy to choose an optimal time for the vessel's movement to the shallow-water site.
The Navy will continue to work with the federal and state agencies on the environmental assessment, which is expected to be complete in mid-June.
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