Upcoming Alaska Navy training exercises prompt protest plans

A Navy training exercise planned in the Gulf of Alaska has sparked heated opposition in a small Alaska fishing town whose residents say the drills are taking place in the critical habitat of breeding and migratory marine life.

Critics in Cordova are planning to protest the mid-June drills by surrounding the town’s fuel dock with their boats on Saturday.

Emily Stolarcyk is with the Eyak Preservation Council, a local nonprofit group organizing the protest. She says migrating salmon and other marine animals will be harmed by explosions, sonar and up to 352,000 pounds of debris that includes toxic materials like lead and cyanide.

Military officials with the Alaskan Command say the Navy has conducted training in the area for decades without major environmental harm.