The Supreme Court recently heard a case about Navy testing of sonar that may well harm and kill whales and dolphins.
At the moment, these tests off the coast of California are banned by federal court order.
Environmental groups say these sonar blasts sound as loud as a jet engine to whales and dolphins. The Navy says the tests are needed for national security.
Beyond these issues, the core of the matter seems to be whether the a judge can order the Navy to stop the tests because no environmental impact study has been done by the Navy. The case has implications beyond this specific concern.
Why can’t the Navy just do the study?
I think what we should do is extensively test just how the sonar bombardments sound to whales, and then recreate that noise for Naval test subjects. Maybe some in Navy could volunteer unlike the whales who have no choice in the matter. ( Though I bet that not many would volunteer to have their ears blasted out.)The test subjects could then report just how it sounded and we could make a judgement from that point.
This National Geographic story discusses possible harm done to Killer Whales because of Navy sonar tests.
And this National Geographic story says whales can be given the bends by such tests.