The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will shut down the Loran navigational system beginning February 8, 2010. The announcement comes over widespread protests from lawmakers and state officials.
From the Portland (Maine) Press Herald:
The decision to terminate the Loran system before eLoran is launched goes against the advice of experts inside and outside the government, according to Conover. Baldacci wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Dec. 30, urging her to retain the Loran system and citing the Maine fishermen and mariners who have relied on the technology and the Maine companies that support it.
“I am deeply concerned about the potential of losing a time-honored, cost-beneficial and proven navigational system,” he wrote.
Members of Maine’s congressional delegation also urged Napolitano to keep Loran operating. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both Republicans, are members of the committees overseeing the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard, respectively.
In a written statement Wednesday, Collins made it clear that she disagrees with the decision and remains concerned about safety and security issues.
“Given the vulnerabilities and limitations of GPS, Loran must be maintained and enhanced to become a vital backup system to GPS for various critical infrastructure users,” she wrote. Without a backup, “GPS’ loss would detrimentally affect cell phone networks, ship movements, and air traffic â€“ to name only a few.”