U R G E N T
COMMENT DEADLINE DUE
July 10, 2012 Midnight
(Central Standard Time)
Naval Sonar Testing
Thousands of Marine Mammals
Could be Killed and Harmed
|Humpback Whale Breaching|
Photo: Thomas R. Kieckhefer
I am outraged that the U.S. Navy would go ahead with sonar testing that could kill and harm marine mammals 2.8 million times a year over a five year period. The proposed training and testing activities off the coasts of Hawaii, Southern California, the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf States from 2014 to 2019 gives these figures in your Draft Environmental Impact Statements. The Navy's projected damage to whales and dolphins is astounding. It is a vast increase over previous estimates of potential harm for the same regions. The numbers for far-reaching harm that will be inflicted on marine mammals during these testing activities is staggering: over 5,000,000 instances of temporary hearing loss, 16,000 instances of permanent hearing loss, almost 9,000 lung injuries, and over 1,800 deaths. An estimated 11,200 whales and dolphins will be deafened. What is unstated is that whales and dolphins depend on sound to navigate, communicate and survive. What is not presented in your analysis are reasonable alternatives to reduce the unprecedented damage to marine animals.Your mitigation plan, based on the ability of lookouts to detect whales and dolphins, will not achieve a significant reduction in damage to marine life.These same plans have been found by Federal courts to be inadequate and ineffective. Visual surveillance may be impaired at sea and unsuitable for distinguishing deep-diving species that spend little time at the surface. If fully effective, it would only protect species from the most serious injuries.
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I call on the Navy to please
identify and set aside areas of high marine mammal density which is acknowledged to be the most effective means of reducing marine mammal injury. If the United States and its Navy wish to be seen as a leader in saving marine life, it must significantly reduce the levels of death and injury to whales, dolphins and other marine life involved in these plans.
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