PEARL HARBOR (April 5, 2001) -- An environmental assessment is underway to determine whether the operation to recover crewmembers from the Ehime Maru will have any significant impact on the environment.
The contractor preparing the assessment is EDAW Inc., of Huntsville, Ala. It has extensive experience with environmental issues in Hawaii, including preparing environmental assessments for the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai and the RIMPAC exercises that are held in Hawaiian waters every two years.
As part of the on-going effort, which began in mid-March, Navy officials again met with state and federal officials today to discuss the potential impacts of lifting a ship weighing more than 750 metric tons from a depth greater than 2,000 feet -- an unprecedented operation.
The assessment is expected to take several months. The Navy will move expeditiously in this process, but also wants to ensure it is done comprehensively and correctly.
The state agencies the Navy has been working with include the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Department of Health. The federal agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, "NOAA Fisheries" -- part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- part of the U.S. Department of Interior.