The U.S. Navy on Thursday started a three-year environmental review process that will examine its use of sonar and explosives during training in the Pacific.

Environmental groups are calling on the public to comment on the effects such activities have on whales, dolphins and other marine life.

“The Navy doesn’t need to blow up breeding areas or blast migrating whales with sonar, so we’re glad they’re taking a closer look at this critical issue,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a release.

“The Navy doesn’t need continuous access to every square inch of the Pacific. It’s a big ocean, and we need protections for the places that are important to the survival of whales and dolphins,” Sakashita said.

The public comment period is open online through Jan. 16. Public meetings are set for Dec. 1 in San Diego, Dec. 3 on Kauai and Dec. 5 on Oahu.

The Navy says the training is necessary to maintain military readiness, and the proposed activities are similar to what’s been done in areas around Hawaii and off of southern California for decades.

The environmental review process is set to be completed by fall 2018. Learn more here.

The Navy trains in areas around Hawaii and off the coast of southern California.

The Navy trains in areas around Hawaii and off the coast of southern California.

U.S. Navy

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