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AP ENTERPRISE: US Navy's sinking of aged warships in coastal waters raises pollution concerns
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ' Target practice is now how the U.S. Navy gets rid of most of its old ships, which wind up at the bottom of the ocean and bring amounts of toxic waste that are only estimated.
An Associated Press review of Navy documents found that in the past 12 years the Navy has used missiles and large guns to sink 109 old warships off the country's coasts.
During the same period, 64 ships were recycled at one of six approved domestic ship-breaking facilities.
The Navy says this target practice, called "Sinkex" and allowed through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exemption to federal toxic pollution laws, serves an important national security function.
Environmentalists have filed a federal lawsuit alleging the EPA failed to safeguard federal waters by allowing Sinkex to occur.