Action Alert: Protect California’s Marine Life from Violent Military Sonar and Explosives

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

whale ship noaaUpdate 3/8/13: Thanks to your participation, the California Coastal Commission has voted unanimously to reject the Navy’s proposal for increased use of Sonar and underwater explosives.  This vote will not halt the Navy’s existing training activities, but will require the Navy to negotiate further with the Coastal Commission to safeguard marine mammals in the future. 

The California vote will not immediately halt training in the region. Rather, it will now require more negotiations between the commission and the Navy. Navy officials said they plan to continue discussions about how they would mitigate harm to marine mammals.

Take Action!  Over the next five years, the United States Navy plans to conduct large scale training exercises involving intense sonar pulses and explosives off the California coast, which is expected to result in more than 9.5 million instances of harm to whales and dolphins between Dana Point and San Diego and extending more than 600 nautical miles out to sea.

Impacts to marine resources could spread as animals travel in and out of toxic debris leftover from explosives.  In addition, the Navy’s blast of high intensity noise from mid-frequency sonar pulses can impact animals far from their source.  However, before these training exercises can begin, the Navy must ask the California Coastal Commission to determine that these activities are consistent with California’s Coastal Zone Management Act, including goals to protect, preserve, and enhance the coastal environment. 

EPIC has been tracking  the Navy’s proposed warfare testing along the Pacific coast and since October of 2010.  Over the last few years, we have had over a thousand people take action online and nearly 2,000 people filled out post cards requesting Barbara Boxer, chair of the Environment Committee, to hold congressional hearings to address cumulative effects to marine life and to stop the unnecessary and harmful warfare testing along the Pacific coast.  The threat has not gone away, and we still need your help to speak out against these acts of violence towards sentient marine mammals and other sea life that will be affected if the Navy does not comply with environmental standards that have been put into place to protect us and all other life that depends on a safe and clean marine environment.

On Friday, March 8th, the California Coastal Commission will hold a hearing to determine whether the Navy’s proposed training activities are consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Act. The Coastal Commission has already prepared a staff report and additional background materials on the Navy’s Sonar and Munitions Program, which can be found at: www.coastal.ca.gov/fedcd/hstt/hstt.html

Please take a moment to ask the Coastal Commission to protect our coastal waters by requiring the Navy to implement additional measures to reduce harm to marine mammals and other coastal resources. 

Click here to take action now.