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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Boats, yes. Bombs and bullets, no.

Reed says no live weapons off RI coast during navy exercises next year
By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., says there will be no live weapons fired off the coast of Rhode Island during Navy training exercises scheduled for November 2018.

“The Navy does NOT intend to fire missiles, rockets, lasers, grenades, detonate mines and explosive buoys off the coast of Rhode Island,” a Reed spokesman wrote in an e-mail to ecoRI News.

The response comes as the Navy hosts a public hearing July 19 at Hotel Providence to discuss the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area, which encompasses 2.6 million square miles of coastal waters from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico.

The materials, so far, provide no assurances that Rhode Island will be spared from live weapon and sonar use.

“Training and testing can occur across all operating areas off of the East Coast and Gulf starting November 2018,” according to a press release from Navy public affairs officer Theodore Brown.

Both Reed and Brown said the plan will likely mimic a 2013 environmental impact study

The study shows restricted areas in Block Island Sound, and in Narragansett Bay at the Naval War College and in an area north of the Aquidneck Island college.

The Navy promises to use spotters to protect marine mammals during the exercises.

Public comment on the environmental impact statement is open until Aug. 29. The July 19 public hearing at Hotel Providence, 139 Mathewson St., is from 4-8 p.m.