Interested parties may submit public comments and protests via the U.S. Navy project website at:
or by U.S. mail to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203
Silverdale, WA 98315-1101
Attn: Mrs. Kimberly Kler – NWTRC EIS
U.S. NAVY 5-YEAR WARFARE TESTING PROGRAMS
A NEW THREAT TO THE PACIFIC, GULF OF MEXICO & ATLANTIC MARINE MAMMALS
By Rosalind Peterson
September 13, 2010
USA TODAY broke this news when they published a news story titled: “Navy Plans Could Affect More Marine Mammals” on August 5, 2010 (1). According to USA Today news article, backed up by federal documents from the U.S. Navy and NOAA: “…The Navy plans to increase ocean warfare exercises, conduct more sonar tests and expand coastal training…activities that could injure hundreds of thousands of marine mammals or disturb their habitats…”
In a letter to NOAA, dated June 19, 2009, U.S. Senator Feinstein and U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman stated: “...In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of its exercises or
expand the areas in which they may occur, and virtually every coastal state will be affected. Some exercises may occur in the nation's most biologically sensitive marine habitats, including
National Marine Sanctuaries and breeding habitat for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. In all, the Navy anticipates more than 2.3 million takes (significant disruptions in
marine mammal foraging, breeding, and other essential behaviors) per year, or 11.7 million takes over the course of a five-year permit..." (2)
With respect to military readiness activities, the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as: “…(i) any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A Harassment]; or (ii) any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered [Level B Harassment]…training activities may expose some of the marine mammals present in the area to sound from various mid-frequency and high-frequency active tactical sonar sources or to pressure from underwater detonations..” (3)
The U.S. Navy has 5-Year Warfare testing programs ready to be implemented in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, and the Pacific in the coming months. With the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatening local economies, unemployment rising, the fishing and tourism industry in disarray, and the oil and Corexit pollution possibly threatening this environment for years, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force are now ready to start another assault on this area using multifaceted warfare testing experiments. NOAA is expected to issue permits to allow the U.S. Navy to “take” marine mammals in the near future in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic and the Pacific (4-7).
There are no real mitigation measures that would protect our oceans from these 5-Year Warfare Testing programs. U.S. Congressman noted in a press release on May 28, 2009: NOAA’s comprehensive review is particularly important given that the Navy has estimated shipboard visual monitoring for marine mammals – the most commonly employed sonar mitigation measure – to be effective only 9% of the time.There are too many redundant warfare testing programs (each one with a separate E.I.S.), which may be extended without public oversight or consent once implemented. Fish, birds, marine life habitats, human health, toxic chemical usage, threats from oil spills, and bomb blasts that could trigger earthquakes or create underwater fissures are allegedly not part of the NOAA (NMFS), items of investigation at this time.
NOAA, in the past few months, since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has admitted that they know little about the marine environment in this underwater area. Thus, when NOAA (National Marine Fisheries Service), had previously approved the offshore oil drilling without appropriate safeguards for marine life. Now NOAA intends to issues permits to the U.S. Navy and Air Force for warfare testing programs, which may exacerbate the current environmental problems in the Gulf of Mexico, without assessing current and future impacts of Gulf oil spills. In addition, NOAA will shortly be approving additional Navy Warfare Testing in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Our oceans and land areas, along with all inhabitants, are to be used as warfare test guinea pigs without public consent, debate, U.S. Congressional hearings or substantial public oversight.
We do know that many toxic chemicals are found in all ocean areas along with numerous dead zones (12-13). According to a New York Times article on July 20, 2010: “…The Gulf’s floor is littered with bombs, chemical weapons and other ordnance dumped in the middle of last century, even in areas busy with drilling, and miles outside of designated dumping zones, according to experts who work on deepwater hazard surveys…”(14)
In many ocean areas, including the Gulf of Mexico, military dumping of arsenals, in the past, which now reside on our ocean bottom areas and contain toxic chemicals, could be disturbed by these bomb blasts and other warfare testing exercises (14). The Navy Warfare Testing Program will, according to their E.I.S. documents: “…utilize mid- and high frequency active sonar sources and explosive detonations. These sonar and explosive sources will be utilized during Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Tracking Exercises, Mine Avoidance Training, Extended Echo Ranging and Improved Extended Echo Ranging (EER/IEER) events, Missile Exercises, Gunnery Exercises, Bombing Exercises, Sinking Exercises, and Mine Warfare Training…” (8)
The “Navy Warfare Chemical Menu” will contaminate our air, water, the ocean, and soil. Their list of toxic chemicals is a long one as noted in the Navy E.I.S: Depleted uranium, red and white phosphorus, cadmium, lead, and a whole host of chemicals known to be toxic not only to man, but to marine life and fish, are being served up on this menu. In addition, highly classified weapons systems are also to be used during these 5-Year Warfare Testing Experiments over both land areas and in all of our oceans.
Many of these 5-Year Navy Warfare programs are to be implemented in the near future and several have already been approved by NOAA and are underway in places like Southern California. On May 31, 2009, KTVU Oakland / San Francisco Channel 2 News, aired a Special Report on expansion of US Navy Warfare Training Programs into Northern California, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (10), This 5-Year Warfare Testing Expansion will implemented when the final Navy Environmental Impact Statement is finalized this summer by the U.S. Navy unless the public objects. NOAA is expect to issue a permit for the “taking” of marine mammals in these areas (8).
Concerned citizens in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California, along with citizens across the United States are protesting this action by the United States government and the United States Navy. Almost all of our elected representatives are silent when it comes to opposing this disastrous program. The major news media, with only two known exceptions, has elected not to cover this story leaving coverage to a few small newspapers located in remote areas. The only television station that has covered this issue is KTVU Channel 2 Investigation U.S. Navy Warfare Testing Program on May 18, 2009 (10).
Our U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House have refused, so far, to postpone these disastrous “takings” or hold U.S. Congressional Hearings while pretending to be ocean environment friendly in their re-election speeches. In addition to refusing to be interviewed by the press with regard to this issue our elected officials are refusing to hold U.S. Congressional hearings in order to protect our marine mammals, fish, birds, endangered species, and human health.
The U.S. Congress, NOAA, and the U.S. Navy are ignoring Chapter 5 of the April 2010, Report of the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE – PRESIDENT’S CANCER PANEL “Exposure to Contaminants and Other Hazards from Military Sources”(8). We do know that the U.S. Navy and the Air Force will be using toxic chemicals and other contaminants in the Gulf of Mexico and other ocean areas. We can’t afford to go forward with new forms of ocean and land contamination from these 5-Year Warfare Testing Experiments until these issues are examined. Hearings should be held by the U.S. Congress in order to protect human and ocean health and the health of our marine mammals and our coastal fishing industry.
It is time for all of us to step up and say “NO” to the U.S. Navy and Air Force War on our oceans. With the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill all we need now is to subject this area and the people who live there to another ecological disaster. Expanding and initiating warfare testing in more areas of the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, will also spell disaster for our marine mammals and fish as well. We do not elect to be the guinea pigs for land test experiments or have our oceans used for massive warfare testing. Say “no” today…Ask for U.S. Congressional Hearings to protect human health and our marine mammals.
President, Agriculture Defense Coalition
Post Office Box 499
Redwood Valley, CA 95470
Website for more U.S. Navy Warfare Testing information:
Please sign petition and send to your elected representatives. Copy on the
above website under the heading U.S. Navy at top of the home page. This website
has a comprehensive section on 5-Year Navy Warfare Testing Programs in the
Pacific, Atlantic & the Gulf of Mexico. Also see the links below for more information.
There are also action items listed on this website.
1, USA TODAY News: “Navy Plans Could Affect More Marine Mammals” August 5, 2010
2, Many U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, Environmental Impact Statements, U.S. Congressional Letters, and NOAA Documents regarding these 5-Year Warfare Testing programs are located on the following website: http://agriculturedefensecoalition.org/?q=us-navy
3, NOAA Definition of “TAKE” and a listing of U.S. Navy & Air Force requests for permits to “take” marine mammals in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The NOAA Definition of Take: “Defined under the MMPA as "harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect." Defined under the ESA as "to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct…” http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/glossary.htm
4, NOAA Current Incidental “Take” Permit Requests & Authorizations – NOAA Website:
5, U.S. Navy East Coast LOA: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/permits/uswtr_loa.pdf
6, Eglin Air Force Base's NEODS Training Operations LOA to NOAA - Gulf of Mexico:
7, Navy's Gulf of Mexico Range Complex Training Exercises LOA:
8, U.S. Navy Environmental Impact Statements:
Northern California, Oregon Washington & Idaho http://www.nwtrangecomplexeis.com/
Atlantic Undersea Warfare Training EIS:
Hawaii Range Complex E.I.S. http://www.govsupport.us/navynepahawaii/hawaiirceis.aspx
9, The Northwest Training Range Complex is the principal range for aviation, surface, submarine, and special warfare units based in Washington State. The range includes marine waters off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. The Final Environmental Impact Statement was released on September 10, 2010, and the final public comment period is over on October 11, 2010. http://www.nwtrangecomplexeis.com/Documents.aspx
The U.S. Commander of the Pacific Fleet (U.S. Navy), has given American citizens and residents of these states 30 days for public comment ending on October 11, 2010. In addition, the U.S. Navy has requested that NOAA (National Marine Fisheries Service), issue permits to let the Navy “TAKE” 11.7 million marine mammals during the course of multiple 5-Year Warfare Tests which will take place in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico. (A few of these warfare testing ranges, like the one in Southern California, have already been approved and are underway.)
10, KTVU Channel 2 Oakland/San Francisco Report on the Northern California 5-Year Warfare Testing Experiments: http://www.ktvu.com/news/19499224/detail.html
11, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk Annual Report NCI Presidential Cancer Panel Report April 2010: http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf
REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL CANCER RISK 2008-2009 ANNUAL REPORT
HISTORY & “WHAT WE CAN DO NOW”
NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE – PRESIDENT’S CANCER PANEL
See: Chapter 5 Exposure to Contaminants and Other Hazards from Military Sources
Summary: “…The military is a major source of toxic occupational and environmental exposures that can increase cancer risk. Information is available about some military activities that have directly or indirectly exposed military and civilian personnel to carcinogens and contaminated soil and water in numerous locations in the United States and abroad. However, we may never know the full extent of environmental contamination from military sources. Nearly 900 Superfund sites are abandoned military facilities or facilities that produced materials and products for or otherwise supported military needs. Some of these sites and the areas surrounding them became heavily contaminated due to improper storage and disposal of known or suspected carcinogens including solvents, machining oils, metalworking fluids, and metals. In some cases, these contaminants have spread far beyond their points of origin because they have been transported by wind currents or have leached into drinking water supplies.
Hundreds of thousands of military personnel and civilians in the United States received significant radiation doses as a result of their participation in nuclear weapons testing and supporting occupations and industries, including nuclear fuel and weapons production, and uranium mining, milling, and ore transport.
Hundreds of thousands more were irradiated at levels sufficient to cause cancer and other diseases. These populations include the families of military and civilian workers, and people—known as “downwinders”—living or working in communities surrounding or downstream from testing and related activities, and in relatively distant areas to which nuclear fallout or other radioactive material spread. Federal responses to the plight of affected individuals have been unsatisfactory. Those affected lack knowledge about the extent of their exposure or potential health problems they may face. Similarly, most health care providers are not aware of cancer and other latent radiation effects and therefore are unlikely to adequately monitor patients for these health conditions. Exposure to ionizing radiation related to nuclear weapons testing is an under-appreciated issue worldwide…”
12, July 6, 2010 Arsenic Levels Rise in Gulf of Mexico Herald Sun News
13, Scientific American August 15, 2008 Oceanic Dead Zones and Maps
14, The New York Times July 20, 2010 “The Gulf of Mexico Has Long Been A Dumping Site:
“…The gulf’s floor is littered with bombs, chemical weapons and other ordnance dumped in the middle of last century, even in areas busy with drilling, and miles outside of designated dumping zones, according to experts who work on deepwater hazard surveys…”