The State of Alaska hopes to continue launching rockets from the Kodiak Launch Complex, but it will need federal approval to disrupt animals in the area.
The state’s aerospace agency wants to renew a federal permit to allow it to inadvertently harass Steller sea lions and harbor seals. The protected animals have haulouts about five miles downrange from the launch pad.
Biologists say the roar of the rockets frighten the animals and could cause temporary hearing loss.
The permit is issued under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, and the U.S. Commerce Department is seeking public comment on the issue.
The renewal period would extend from March 2011 to February 2016.