Navy sonar and whales: research insufficient

Regarding the opinion article "When sound is dangerous" (Oct. 28): Thank you for presenting Linda Weilgart's informed, opposing voice to the US Navy's deployment of low frequency active sonar (LFAS).

Navy scientists briefly studied only short-term reactions to low levels of the sonar. We know nothing about how the higher deployment levels will affect feeding, navigation, communication, the mother-calf bond, and long-term reproductive rates. Evidence that the sonar tests disrupted the mother-calf bond, decreased vocalization rates, caused changes in migration routes, and strandings was ignored in the Navy's draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The Navy invested millions of dollars in developing LFAS and only agreed to study its impact on marine life and write the required EIS after it was threatened with a lawsuit. In its rush to deploy the sonar, it is undermining the entire legally defined EIS process.

The welfare of all marine life now depends on National Marine Fisheries Service and the Navy taking one step at a time and acting responsibly to protect our oceans.

Marsha L. Green Wyomissing, Pa. President, Ocean Mammal Institute

Reform party circus?

Thank you for the opinion article by Jacqueline Salit ("Pat Buchanan's declaration of independence," Nov. 1). Lately I have heard more of the media and Democratic and Republican leaders refer to the Reform Party as a "circus" and a "sideshow."

At first, I found this insulting. Now I see it differently.I have begun to realize how far beyond their frame of reference we in the Reform Party actually are. Our approach is so novel that they have trouble defining us. To them we are the lion-tamers, trapeze artists, and yes, even clowns of the political carnival.

Aside from our dedication to issues, there are at least four things that the media and the other parties cannot comprehend:

1. That we can have disagreements and still remain a powerful unified force.

2. That unlike the two major parties, all of our discussions and even verbal conflict come immediately to the surface.

3. That our beliefs are not steered or controlled by monetary forces outside our own spectrum.

4. That we all have our own opinions. We may march to different drummers, but we fight in the same army.

Tom Johnson Rochester, Minn.

Scant evidence of global warming

Your article "Glaciers in the Himalayas melting at rapid rate" mentions "the melting rate of the Himalayan glaciers" as one of the "many ill-effects of global warming" as if it were a proven fact, like the law of gravity (Nov. 5).

Accurate satellite measurements taken during the last 18 years that compensate for the urban heat island effect show no evidence of warming. The government's own measurements, as cited by the National Center for Public Policy Research, show the planet has actually cooled slightly by 0.037 degrees Celsius over that time.

Daniel John Sobieski Chicago

Keep nuclear power in perspective

To treat nuclear power in Asia as questionable based on widely publicized, but very local, incidents reflects a lack of balance ("Asia's nuclear power dilemma," Oct. 27). The massive coal-fired power plants that serve much of China and other parts of Asia are continuously pumping out pollutants that result in acid rain, respiratory disease, crop damage, and global warming. By comparison, nuclear power is a benign energy source.

Per F. Peterson Berkeley, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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