Oregon senators question Navy training off coast

PORTLAND, Ore. AP — U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon have sent a letter to the secretary of the Navy about concerns over the potential environmental and economic impact of expanded training off the Pacific coast.

The two Oregon Democrats said in their letter to Secretary B.J. Penn that the training may pose substantial risks.

The expanded warfare training proposal includes underwater minefield testing, explosive ordnance use, expanded land and air-based exercises and widespread sonar use.

The senators cited four specific concerns: irreparable harm to fisheries, sonar impact on marine mammals, possible threats to endangered species and the potential release of hazardous materials into sensitive marine ecosystems.

A public comment period ends Saturday.

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