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Low Flights Presumed to|Harm Marine Mammals

WASHINGTON (CN) - Pilots who let their planes dip below specified heights over National Marine Sanctuaries will be found in violation of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, according to rule changes proposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Currently, to be found in violation of the act the agency would have to prove that a marine mammal or sea bird in the sanctuary had been disturbed by a low over flight.

The proposed rules create a rebuttable presumption that a low over flight is a disturbance to protected animals in the sanctuary.

Only flights over the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Olympic Coast national marine sanctuaries would be covered by the proposed regulations.

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