Coast Guard again seeks live-fire exercises
Written by Duluth News Tribune   
Tuesday, 10 July 2007 03:32

The United States Coast Guard wants to bring back its live ammunition fire zones to each of the Great Lakes, but Wisconsin Public Radio has learned that the proposal is considerably scaled down.

The original proposal last August rocked a lot of boats around the Great Lakes. Great Lakes mayors opposed it, tribes opposed it and some fishing and recreational groups opposed it. It called for 34 live-ammunition firing zones for Coast Guard gunboat target practice. The proposal was withdrawn late last year.

Coast Guard spokesman Robert Lanier says a new preliminary proposal would have just one live fire zone in each of the Great Lakes. He says they would train in early spring or late fall when few boaters are out and they would use reduced lead bullets. He says these are called “environmentally friendly” bullets, referred to as “green bullets” by some.

Lanier says this is just a preliminary proposal awaiting approval from the Coast Guard’s top brass, but when it is finalized, it will be distributed to concerned parties.

Lanier expects public hearings later this year so people can comment on the new live ammunition proposal. He says they are aware that whatever solution is developed may not please everyone. But he says they are really trying to come up with the best solution that provides safety and security in the Great Lakes.

The live ammunition fire zones are part of the Homeland Security directive to protect the U.S./Canadian border.
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