Fw: Expanded Naval Wargames Threaten the NWHI and the Public's Health

Below is good information on the Navy expansion plans in Hawaii.  Please note that a public hearing will be held in Hilo on Wednesday, Aug. 29th at 5PM Waiakea High School.  Pass the word please.
Jim Albertini
Malu `Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB
`Ola`a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
email ja@interpac.net
www.malu-aina.org
----- Original Message -----
From: KAHEA
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 5:33 PM
Subject: Expanded Naval Wargames Threaten the NWHI and the Public's Health

KAHEA:The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance

Save the Whales, Stop the Sonar

Aloha Jim,

The Navy wants to expand its wargame-playground to include the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands! Your help is needed to prevent serious harm to this unique, delicate ecosystem, and the wider Hawaiian Islands.

Tuesday is the first day of public hearings on the environmental impacts of expanded naval exercises in the Hawaiian Islands. The Navy's proposal includes live-fire bombing and missile interception over the NWHI Monument, significantly increased use of high-intensity active sonar in the Monument and the Humpback Whale Sanctuary, and increased bombing exercises at ranges contaminated with depleted uranium.

The Navy's wargames are dangerous and pose serious risks to the welfare of our imperiled ocean resources, especially the delicate and highly protected Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) - the federal agency charged with protecting our oceans - held that the Navy's use of active sonar was the most likely reason 150 melonhead whales attempted to beach themselves in Hanalei Bay in 2004. Yet, NMFS supports the Navy's proposal to expand use of active sonar and other harmful activities in the Hawaiian Islands, even though the Navy refuses to abide by meaningful mitigation protocols to minimize the injuries its actions inflict.

This is unacceptable. Hawai'i's residents and our environment deserve better!

Help make the message clear to the Navy that it must abide by U.S. and state environmental laws, employ reasonable mitigations, and decrease - not increase - wargames in the Hawaiian Islands. Please take a few minutes to read this action alert and learn how you can send a personalized message to the Navy and NMFS demanding an end to the wargames.

Mahalo nui for your support in protecting Hawai'i's unique cultural and natural heritage.

Here are four ways you can help:
1. Attend a public hearing in your area (times and locations listed below),
2. Send written comments to decisionmakers at the Navy and NMFS through this Action Alert,
3. Sign our petition supporting a 145 decibel limit on human-made ocean noise in state waters, and
4. Pass this information on to everyone you know!

Info on the Public Hearings:

On Kaua'i
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall
4191 Hardy St. in Lihue

On O'ahu
Thursday, August 23, 2007
McKinley High School
1039 South King St. in Honolulu

On Maui
Monday, August 27, 2007
Baldwin High School
1650 Kaahumanu Ave. in Wailuku

On Hawai'i
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Waiakea High School
155 West Kawili St. in Hilo

Written comments are due to NMFS by August 31, 2007 at:

Michael Payne, Chief
Permits, Conservation and Education Division
Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
MD 20910-3225

Email: PR1.050107N@noaa.gov.

Written comments are due to the U.S. Navy by September 17, 2007 at:

Tom Clements
Pacific Missile Range Facility
P.O. Box 128
Kekaha, Hawai'i 96752-0128

Email: Fax: 808-335-4520



Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Chief Michael Payne
Mr. Tom Clements

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: Expanding Naval Wargames in Hawaii is Unacceptable

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

The world recognizes Hawai'i hosts unique and fragile marine environments crucial to the overall health of our oceans. The U.S. acknowledged the importance of protecting Hawai'i's oceans by establishing the largest, most highly protected marine preserve in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. This is the primary foraging grounds of last few remaining Hawaiian monk seals, home of rare cold water coral reefs,

The Navy's proposal to significantly increase wargames in the Hawaiian Islands directly undermines the policies of the federal and state governments to protect the NWHI Marine Monument, State Refuge, and the Humpback Whale Sanctuary. The Navy's plan to use active sonar that harms marine mammals, spread toxic chemicals that undermine the public's health, and jeopardize cultural sites sacred to Native Hawaiians is completely unacceptable and cannot be allowed.

Sincerely,

Jim Albertini

Take Action!

Instructions:
Click here to take action on this issue or choose the "Reply to Sender" option on your email program.


Tell-A-Friend:
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
 Tell-a-Friend!


What's At Stake:
Talking Points Continued:

The Navy repeatedly mentions the lack of marine mammal strandings associated with its use of mid-frequency active sonar in Hawaiian waters in the 40 or so years that it has been using the technology. This is false. In 2004, in the middle of the Navy's bi-annual RIMPAC exercises, 150 melon-head whales attempted to strand themselves in Hanalei Bay; one calf was found dead. NMFS concluded that the Navy's use of high-intensity active sonar was the most likely cause of that rare stranding event. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that a marine mammal harmed by active sonar would ever be found in Hawai'i because our oceans are so vast. Injured marine animals in Hawai'i are most likely eaten by predators or carried away by the strong currents. So, the fact that more stranded marine animals have not been found is not proof that no marine animals are affected by the Navy's active sonar.

Naval exercises pose an unacceptable risk to our fragile coral reefs. Bleaching events, coral disease, and changing ocean temperatures are all causing our coral reefs - the foundation of our oceans - to die at alarming rates. The U.S. heeded these warning signs and set aside the NWHI as the world's largest, most protected marine preserve in the world. Naval activities should abide by the U.S.'s policy to protect the NWHI and specifically its unique coral reef ecosystems. Contamination from missile debris, as well as damage from waves knocking around large shrapnel pieces on the reefs are so far outside accepted practices in the NWHI that they should be prohibited.

The Navy's mitigation methods are woefully inadequate. Observers onboard ships cannot see marine animals that rarely surface, if at all (beaked whales can spend an hour below the surface; turtles surface with only their nostrils) and passive listening sonar cannot identify marine animals that do not vocalize. Even if an animal is spotted within 1,000 yards of the ship, the Navy will only reduce the sonar ping by a mere 6 decibels, to 229 decibels, which is still over 100 million times more intense than the Navy's human diver standard of 145 decibels and over a million times more intense than the noise level that killed the whales in the infamous Bahamas incident of 2000. This is unacceptable and violates 50 CFR sec. 404.9(c) of the Monument regulations requiring the Navy to avoid adverse impacts to Monument resources. The Navy must adopt meaningful mitigation protocols.

The Navy's use of acoustic modeling to predict the impact to marine mammals from its harmful active sonar is inadequate because it fails to consider actual, historic data on marine animal stranding and disturbance events associated with active sonar. These data are far better indicators of the likely consequences of using active sonar in Hawaiian waters than computer models.

The Navy claims marine mammals do not change their behavior when exposed to 195 decibels or less of active sonar. Yet, marine animals have beached and died after receiving noise levels far lower than this. The Navy and NMFS must alter their standards to conform to empirical data on stranding and disturbance events.

The Navy and NMFS acknowledge that mid-frequency active sonar harms marine wildlife (although not in Hawai'i), yet they propose to increase the level and frequency of exposure to marine animals, instead of decrease it. The Navy and NMFS should respect state and federal efforts to ensure the long-term survival of marine ecosystems by prohibiting harmful military activities.

Expanded naval wargames jeopardize Hawai'i's fish stocks. Fish are primary source of food and income in the Hawaiian Islands. Unfortunately, Hawai'i's fish stocks are severely depleted. In effort to counteract decades of overfishing, state and federal agencies have banned residents from catching some of the most popular fish. The Navy ignorantly claims that fish will be negligibly impacted by expanded naval exercises because they cannot hear mid-frequency active sonar. Not only does the Navy's EIS fail to adequately discuss the non-auditory effects of mid-frequency active sonar on fish, but it flippantly admits that while underwater detonations will kill and injure some fish, the "abundance and diversity of fish within the Hawaiian Range Complex will not measurably decrease." This is untrue. The combined affect of intensely loud sound and increased underwater explosions will drive away what few fish the Hawaiian Islands still have. This is an unacceptable consequence of expanded naval exercises.

The Navy's proposal is inadequate because it fails to identify the resources and mechanisms required by 50 CFR sec. 404.9(d) of the Monument Regulations "for the purpose of taking appropriate actions to repsond to and mitigate the harm and, if possible, restore or replace the Monument resource or quality." How much of the Navy's budget for these exercises will be used to remedy the harm these wargames pose to the NWHI?


Public Hearing Dates:

On Kaua'i
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall
4191 Hardy St. in Lihue

On O'ahu
Thursday, August 23, 2007
McKinley High School
1039 South King St. in Honolulu

On Maui
Monday, August 27, 2007
Baldwin High School
1650 Kaahumanu Ave. in Wailuku

On Hawai'i
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Waiakea High School
155 West Kawili St. in Hilo


Campaign Expiration Date:
September 17, 2007


If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for KAHEA:The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance.

This message was sent to ja@interpac.net. Visit your subscription management page to modify your email communication preferences or update your personal profile. To stop ALL email from KAHEA:The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, click to remove yourself from our lists (or reply via email with "remove or unsubscribe" in the subject line).

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home