Take Action! on Navy War Games: Marine Mammals and Other Sea Life to be Decimated by the Millions from Sea to Shining Sea


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

August 18, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Update on June 5th Report: 5-Year U.S. Navy Warfare Testing Programs Located in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico

The United States Navy will be decimating millions of marine mammals and other aquatic life, each year, for the next five years, under their Warfare Testing Range Complex Expansions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS under NOAA), has already approved the “taking” of marine mammals in more than a dozen Navy Range Warfare Testing Complexes (6), and is preparing to issue another permit for 11.7 millions marine mammals (32 Separate Species), to be decimated along the Northern, California, Oregon and Washington areas of the Pacific Ocean (7).

U.S. Department of Commerce – NOAA (NMFS) Definition: “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.” Definition: Incidental Taking: An unintentional, but not unexpected taking (12).

The total number of marine mammals that will be decimated in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico for the next five years is unknown. The NMFS approvals will have a devastating impact upon the marine mammal populations worldwide and this last Navy permit, which is expected to be issued in February 2010, for the “taking” of more than 11.7 million marine mammals in the Pacific will be the final nail in the coffin for any healthy populations of sea life to survive.

Now with ever-increasing numbers of permits being issued for sonar programs in more than twelve ranges in the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic regions of the United States, our marine mammals and other sea life are facing complete devastation. When you add bomb blasts to this list, warfare testing of all types, future war testing practice, and the toxic chemicals which are both airborne and to be used underwater, there is little chance that most marine life will survive in any significant numbers. Our U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressmen refuse to postpone these disastrous “takings” or hold U.S. Congressional Hearings while pretending to be ocean environment friendly in their re-election speeches.

Earlier this year, June 8th through June 16, 2009, a delegation from Connecticut and California spent time walking the halls of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. We left petitions, color fliers, and information about saving our marine mammals, requested a postponement and U.S. Congressional Hearings. Ninety-nine senate offices were visited and 2/3 of offices in the U.S. House of Representatives. The silent response from our elected officials regarding these two requests has been zero…one U.S. Congressman even stated that citizens would be “laughed out of the halls of the U.S. Congress for suggesting that we protect our marine mammals”. Corporate paid “Lobbyists”, who hand out money by the $Millions, on the other hand, are always accepted at hearings, give testimony, and are welcomed in the halls of Congress…apparently the voices of citizens of the United States are not given the same status.

These virtually unregulated Navy Warfare Testing Programs already approved are now taking a toll on marine mammals, the fishing and ocean tourism industries, and on all aquatic life. Many U.S. Senators and Congressmen are ignoring these issues by pretending that they doesn’t exist even though they have been informed in advance of these programs.

A brief history of the Navy Warfare Testing Program is needed to understand the full implications of this Pentagon/Navy Warfare Testing Program. In 2004, the Bush Administration signed a bill weakening U.S. Environmental Laws (1), with regard to the U.S. Navy. And then in 2008, President Bush signed an executive order allowing the Navy to be exempt from environmental laws which protects endangered and threatened species (2-4). The Navy Southern California Complex was the first one to benefit from this executive order. Soon other Navy Range Complexes were obtaining exemptions from the NMFS with little or no oversight or significant mitigation measures (5).

A partial listing of known Navy Range Complexes (6), shows the amazing scope of the disaster. According to U.S. Congressman Waxman in a letter dated March 12, 2009: “…The Navy estimates that its sonar training activities will “take” marine mammals more than 11.7 million times over the course of a five-year permit…The sonar exercises at issue would take place off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Hawaii, Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico – affecting literally every coastal state. In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of training exercises or expand the areas in which they may occur. Of particular concern are biologically sensitive marine habitats off our coasts, such as National Marine Sanctuary and other breeding habitats…In all, the Navy anticipates that its sonar exercises will “take” marine mammals more than 2.3 million times per year, or 11.7 million times over the course of a 5-year permit….” This statement was made in response to public inquiries regarding the Navy Northwest Training Range schedule for Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

KTVU Oakland San Francisco Television Station is the only television station to investigate and air a story about this U.S. Navy program (13), on May 18, 2009. It took a great deal of courage, in the face of the fact that no other major television networks would carry this story. A few courageous radio stations are also helping to get the word out to the public.

Published in the United States Federal Register on March 11, 2009:

The United States Navy published an application, as an addendum to their expanded Warfare Testing program, in the U.S. Federal Register, dated March 11, 2009. This application from the Navy “…requests authorization to take individuals of 32 species of marine mammals during upcoming Navy Warfare testing and training to be conducted in the NWTR areas (off the Pacific coasts of Washington, Oregon, and northern California) over the course of 5 years…”

The Navy Warfare Testing Program will “…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…” (More listed in Navy E.I.S.)

The “taking” of marine mammals negatively impacts the entire ecology of our oceans and the life in them which feeds large numbers of people and other species around the world. It should be noted that the list of toxic chemicals that the Navy proposes to use is a long one as noted in the Navy E.I.S. Depleted uranium, red and white phosphorus, mercury, lead, and a whole host of chemicals known to be toxic not only to man, but to marine life, are being served up on the “Navy Warfare Chemical Menu” that will contaminate our air, water, and soil.

Since all of the Navy Warfare Training Range Complexes have received, or will receive in the near future, permits to “take” marine mammals during their respective 5-year warfare training programs the cumulative and synergistic effects of losing millions of marine mammals will be disastrous. It is time to say no to any future permits being issued by the National Marine Fisheries Services. Please feel free to write or call National Marine Fisheries Service (9), regarding the U.S. Navy Environmental Impact Statement (10). Your elected officials in Washington, D.C., need to hear from all of us on this critical issue.

On May 28, 2009, U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson from California, in a Press Release to NOAA, made the following statements which could be directed toward any ocean Navy testing range: “…I am concerned about the United States Navy’s ability to properly review the environmental impacts of proposed enhancements in its Northwest Training Range Complex (NWTRC)… I am particularly concerned that NOAA’s existing mitigation measures may not be best suited for the protected marine mammals and endangered salmonids present in the Pacific Northwest… I am also concerned about proposed changes to current levels of activity in the NWTRC that focus on training for new aircraft and ship classes and physical enhancements to the training range. The Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) acknowledges that these changes, particularly those related to its increased use of mid-frequency sonar, are likely to have measurable impacts on 32 protected marine mammal species known to inhabit the NWTRC…”

Congressman Thompson continues: “…As the Navy moves forward with plans to train on new weapons systems, it is essential that NOAA identifies the environmental impacts of these new aircraft, ships and submarines – and their accompanying mitigation measures – specifically with reference to the productive ocean habitats and species that define the Pacific Coast… I am not aware of any specific elements included in the evaluation and am concerned that the review will be inadequate to address the Navy’s EIS with respect to protection of Pacific Coast ocean ecosystems. 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. It is important that NOAA take immediate steps to validate its comprehensive review of mitigation measures. Specifically, I request that you provide my office with an outline of the comprehensive review process and answers to the following questions:

1. What mitigation measures will be reviewed during NOAA’s process?

2. What data will NOAA use to identify those mitigation measures best able to protect marine species?

3. How will your agency’s recommendations target specific species, habitats or training activities of concern?

4. How will NOAA’s recommendations address sonar impacts to species other than marine mammals?

5. How will NOAA or the Navy establish performance standards to ensure that recommended mitigation measures are functioning as intended?…”

The public should also be informed of any information received by Congressman Thompson’s office. In addition, there are a few more questions which need to be answered:

1. What are the synergistic and cumulative effects of all the permits that have been issued in the last two years to Naval Range Complex requests?

2. Bomb blasts and toxic chemicals are also being tested by the Navy and NOAA reviews are not including information on the Navy Hazardous Waste and Toxic Chemicals sections of the Navy E.I.S., such as bioaccumulation of chemicals in the food chain, death from exposure to toxic chemicals and bomb blasts.

3. The Navy will also be conducting classified future warfare testing. Since the public is not to be informed of those tests, chemicals being used, electromagnetic weapons systems, and other air or land based tests, who is protecting sea life, human health, water, soil, and air from pollution and other experimental tests?

4. Human health from airborne pollutants, toxic debris, and shoreline contamination from toxic chemicals should also be considered in the NMFS evaluation. The protection of cruise ships, fishermen, ocean tourists, U.S. Coastguard personnel, and the public who swim in the ocean should also be considered in their evaluations. This is not just a marine mammal issue.

It is now time for all of us to weigh in with regard to these warfare programs which will devastate our marine mammals, pollute our air and water, and have negative impacts on human health. We should have U.S. Congressional Hearings and a postponement of these programs until such time as the public can be informed about these issues. Call your elected officials today. End

For more information contact: Rosalind Peterson (707) 485-7520 info@californiaskwatch.com

http://californiaskywatch.com/ Petitions – Posters – General Information

or http://www.agriculturedefensecoalition.org/ Search Engine Provides 325 Navy Documents

1, 2004 Bill Signed into Law by President Bush Summary. 108th Congress H.R. 1588

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h108-1588&tab=summary 2004

2, http://www.dailyherald.com/story/print/?id=115998 Associate Press January 18, 2009 – “…President Bush’s decision to exempt the Navy from an environmental law so it can continue using high-power sonar in its training off Southern California _ a practice they say harms whales and other marine mammals…”

3, http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Jan16/0,4670,NavySonar,00.html – Los Angeles January 16, 2009- Associated Press President Bush Executive Order Undermining Environmental Laws.

4, http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=11622 U.S. Department of Defense News Release January 16, 2009 Navy Warfare Testing Southern California Range Complex-Use of Sonar

5, No Significant Mitigation Measures for all of the Navy Range Complexes Listing on this U.S. Map: http://afasteis.gcsaic.com/docs/Range%20Sustainability.pdf http://afasteis.gcsaic.com/docs/Range%20Sustainability.pdf

6, Partial Listing of known Navy + Air Force Range Complexes:

NOAA Listing (NMFS) August 9, 2009 http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm

1. Northwest Training Range Complex – California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon

http://www.nwtrangecomplexeis.com

2. Southern California Training Range Complex

http://afasteis.gcsaic.com/docs.aspx and http://afasteis.gcsaic.com/links.aspx

3. Cherry Point Training Range Complex

http://www.navycherrypointrangecomplexeis.com/otherresources.aspx#draft

http://www.navycherrypointrangecomplexeis.com/EIS.aspx

4. U.S. Air Force Eglin Gulf Test+Training Range EGTTR Strike Weapons Tests 2004-5 Years

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/permits/eglin_psw_loa.pdf

5. Hawaii Training Range Complex

http://www.govsupport.us/navynepahawaii/FEIS.aspx

http://www.govsupport.us/navynepahawaii/hawaiirceis.aspx

6. Jacksonville, Florida Navy Complex Training Range E.I.S.

http://www.jacksonvillerangecomplexeis.com/otherresources.aspx

http://ncrus.org/media/Op-EdFloridaWannamaker.pdf Marine Mammal Disaster 2008

7. Virginia Capes EIS/OEIS

http://www.vacapesrangecomplexeis.com/

http://www.vacapesrangecomplexeis.com/otherresources.aspx#Final

http://www.vacapesrangecomplexeis.com/Documents/EPA_Region_III_Letter.pdf

8. Gulf of Mexico Range Complex EIS/OEIS

http://www.gomexrangecomplexeis.com/

http://www.gomexrangecomplexeis.com/EIS.aspx Map

9. Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training

http://afasteis.gcsaic.com/

http://afasteis.gcsaic.com/docs.aspx

http://afasteis.gcsaic.com/docs/Range%20Sustainability.pdf

10. Mariana Islands Range Complex EIS/OEIS

http://www.marianasrangecomplexeis.com/otherresources.aspx

11. NSWC Panama City Division: EIS/OEIS

http://nswcpc.navsea.navy.mil/Environment.htm

12. NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex EIS/OEIS

13. Navy Undersea Warfare Training Range Complex

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/USWTR_index.htm

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/USWTR_library/PDF_library/ROD/ROD.pdf

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/EIS/FOEIS-EIS_2009/FOEIS-EIS_2009.htm

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/Library_index.htm#comments

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/USWTR_library/PDF_library/Agency_Correspondence/FL%20DEP%20letter%20July%2027%202009.pdf

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/USWTR_library/PDF_library/Agency_Correspondence/GA%20CCD%20letter%20July%2020%202009.pdf

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/USWTR_library/PDF_library/Agency_Correspondence/GA%20CCD%20letter%20June%2026%202009.pdf

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/USWTR_library/PDF_library/Agency_Correspondence/Final-EFH-Assessment-letter_20090619.pdf

http://projects.earthtech.com/USWTR/USWTR_library/PDF_library/Technical_Report/NMFS%20Biological%20Opinion.pdf

7, http://www.nwtrangecomplexeis.com/

California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon Decision Pending

8, http://www.navycherrypointrangecomplexeis.com/

Navy Cherry Point Range Complex

http://www.navycherrypointrangecomplexeis.com/otherresources.aspx#draft

Table of Contents Environmental Impact Statement – Finalized April 23, 2009

http://www.navycherrypointrangecomplexeis.com/Documents/Navy_Cherry_Point_FEIS_Vol_1_Appendix_E.pdf

Weapons Systems Descriptions – Note Section on Red and White Phosphorus Hazards

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05255.pdf 2003 GAO Report Navy

9, Public Comment Deadline NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service August 12, 2009:

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-16301.htm Information here for how to file your protest and comments. http://www.pco.noaa.gov/org/NOAA_Organization.htm 2009 Protests to your elected officials are also needed at this time.

10, http://www.nwtrangecomplexeis.com California, Oregon, Washington & Idaho Navy Environmental Impact Statement

11, NOAA “Take” Requests and Permit Authorization-Note Military & Other Types of Organizations:

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm

12, NOAA Glossary of Terms – 2009 Definition: Incidental Taking: An unintentional, but not unexpected taking. More Terms: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/glossary.htm

13, KTVU Channel 2 Investigation U.S. Navy Warfare Testing Program May 18, 2009

http://www.ktvu.com/news/19499224/detail.html

14, President Obama Restored Species Act Consultation-U.S. Department of Commerce & Interior

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/29/MN5917AP99.DTL&type=pr 2009

Notes: U.S. Navy Chemicals Usage – Warfare Weapons Range Complexes in the United States.

U.S. Navy: “…*Titanium tetrachloride is a colorless to pale yellow liquid that has fumes with a strong odor. If it comes in contact with water, it rapidly forms hydrochloric acid, as well as titanium compounds. Titanium tetrachloride is not found naturally in the environment and is made from minerals that contain titanium. It is used to make titanium metal and other titanium-containing compounds, such as titanium dioxide, which is used as a white pigment in paints and other products and to produce other chemicals. Military use it as a component of spotting charges. Titanium tetrachloride is very irritating to the eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and the lungs. Breathing in large amounts can cause serious injury to the lungs. Contact with the liquid can burn the eyes and skin….”

U.S. Navy: “…HAZARDS:

_ Explosive

_ Red phosphorus or Titanium tetrachloride

_ Smoke/incendiary

References: ATSDR The Aviation Ordnanceman; TRI-DDS website; MIDAS; Global Security.org.

MK-20 Rockeye

Description Physical Characteristics The MK-20 Rockeye is a free-fall, unguided cluster weapon designed to kill tanks and armored vehicles. The system consists of a clamshell dispenser, a mechanical MK-339 timed fuze, and 247 dual-purpose armor-piercing shaped-charge bomblets. The bomblet weighs 1.32 pounds and has a 0.4-pound shaped charge warhead of high explosives, which produces up to 250,000 psi at the point of

impact, allowing penetration of approximately 7.5 inches of armor. Rockeye is most efficiently use against area targets requiring penetration to kill. Fielded in 1968, the Rockeye dispenser is also used in the Gator air delivered mine system. During Desert Storm US Marines used the weapon extensively, dropping 15,828 of the 27,987 total Rockeyes against armor, artillery, and antipersonnel targets. The remainder were dropped by Air Force (5,345) and Navy (6,814) aircraft.

Filling: 247 bomblets…”

U.S. Navy: “…*Red Phosphorus may be harmful if absorbed through skin, ingested, or inhaled, and may cause irritation of the skin, eyes, upper respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and mucous membranes. Inhalation of red phosphorus dust may cause bronchitis. Ingestion of red phosphorus may also cause stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. Effects may vary from mild irritation to severe destruction of tissue depending on the intensity and duration of exposure. Prolonged and/or repeated skin contact may result in dermatitis. Chronic exposure may cause kidney and liver damage, anemia, stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, blood disorders, and cardiovascular effects. Chronic ingestion or inhalation may induce systemic phosphorus poisoning. If red phosphorus is contaminated with white phosphorus, chronic ingestion may cause necrosis of the jaw bone (“phossy-jaw”). HAZARDS: Explosive;

HAZARDS: Explosive; Red phosphorus or Titanium tetrachloride; Smoke/incendiary…”

U.S. Navy: “…**Pyrotechnic and screening devices contain combustible chemicals which, when ignited, rapidly generate a flame of intense heat, flash, infrared radiation, smoke or sound display (or combinations of these effects) for a variety of purposes. Compared to other explosive substances, pyrotechnics are more adversely affected by moisture, temperature, and rough handling. Some compositions may become more sensitive, and even ignite, when exposed to moisture or air. Mixtures which contain chlorates and sulfur are susceptible to spontaneous

combustion. Most pyrotechnics produce a very hot fire that is difficult to extinguish and most burn without serious explosions. Many chemicals used in pyrotechnics produce toxic effects when ignited. Other pyrotechnics, which contain propelling charges, create an extremely hazardous missile hazard if accidentally ignited…”
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