Editor's note: The Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972 is up for renewal by the U.S. Congress this year. Because amendments to this law could dramatically impact the use of air guns in U.S. waters, Jack Caldwell has prepared this summary of issues likely to be focal points during congressional hearings on this matter. John Richardson (LGL, Ltd.) and Roger Gentry (NMFS) contributed many helpful comments to this summary.

In recent years, attention has increasingly focused on dramatically rising noise levels in the world's oceans and their possible effects on marine life (particularly marine mammals). The United Kingdom, Australia, and...

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