Gulf of Alaska Comments Due Today Sept. 16Comments Due on Navy's Ocean Bombing Plan
Deadline is THURSDAY, September 16th to comment on plans to expand firing and bombing in the Gulf of Alaska.
Background: The Navy wants to vastly expand military bombing and firing exercises across 42,000 square miles of rich and productive fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Aside from dumping hundreds of thousands of pounds of hazardous and other wastes into GOA fisheries, the Navy plans to introduce – for the first time – extensive sonar training in the GOA which poses significant risks to whales, fish, and other wildlife that depend on sound for breeding, feeding, navigating, and avoiding predators.
The Problem: The Navy is trying to avoid review under Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP), by arguing its activities will have only minor (or “de minimis”) impacts on Alaskan waters (which extend from the shoreline out 3 miles). Fish and marine mammals do not recognize the legal boundaries between state and federal waters, and Navy activities beyond 3 miles will invariably impact marine life along Alaska’s coastline. If the Navy succeeds, the State of Alaska will have much less authority to protect Alaskan fisheries and marine mammals. While military readiness is vital for national security, the Navy cannot ignore the significant impacts its activities will have on Alaska’s spectacular marine resources.
The Solution: Tell the State of Alaska to protect Alaskan marine resources by insisting the Navy’s project undergo Alaska Coastal Management program review, and tell them:
The Navy’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement admits this project will “take” over 425,000 marine mammals (behavioral impacts, harassment, injury, death) every year - that's over 2.125 million takes during the course of the training. These marine mammals regularly transit state waters.
Active sonar harms fish, causing damage to internal organs and affecting their ability to navigate, find prey and escape predators. The Navy's acoustics impact analysis ignores scientific studies contrary to its interests and uses methodologies not supported by the scientific community. Fish found in federal waters routinely transit Alaskan waters.
The Navy also plans to abandon at nearly 2 million pounds of spent material (both hazardous and non-hazardous) in the GOA and over 60,000 pounds of this expended material is hazardous waste. These wastes invariably drift and dissolve, and will impact Alaska’s coastal zone.
SEND COMMENTS OR MAKE PHONE CALLS BY
5:00 PM, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, TO:
Alaska Coastal Management Program
Phone: (907) 465-8794
Fax: (907) 465-3075
Posted: September 16, 2010