Protest the U.S. Navy’s war games in Alaska

Two excellent articles on the situation:
http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/war_games_set_to_begin_today_ in_the_pristine_gulf_of_alaska/v
http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-navy-gears-up-for-huge-war-games-in-alaska-wildlife-and-environment-be-damned/

A letter of protest to the US Navy can be sent directly from the Eyak Preservation Council’s website, with a letter that can be customized.

From the Eyak Preservation Council
http://www.eyakpreservationcouncil.org/navy-training-facts/write-letter-navy-2/

Make Your Voice Heard!

Send a letter to the Navy 

Background: In June 2015 the US Navy is going to conduct military training activities in the Gulf of Alaska to “achieve and maintain military readiness.” (Source www.goaeis.com).

The Navy is planning to use active and passive sonar for submarine exercises, plus a wide variety of live weapons and explosives (bombs, missiles, torpedoes, etc.) This area is vital habitat for many species of marine life including whales and salmon. The water here supports the most sustainable and economically valuable fisheries left in the USA.

If these trainings occur it will set a dangerous precedent for unchecked military expansion in the most pristine waters left on earth.

Please send the letter below to let the Navy know that you oppose the use of live ordnance and sonar in the Gulf of Alaska.

This letter will be sent to: 

– Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert
– Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Harris Harris Jr.

Copies of this letter will be sent to:

Alaska Command Leadership:

–       Lt. Gen. Russell Handy
–       Maj. Gen. Michael Shields
–       CMSgt. Gay L.C. Veale
Tommie Baker – Public Affairs at JBER
Jeffrey Fee – Director of Training, Readiness and Exercises at JBER
Jon Montague – Tribal Coordinator at JBER

This letter is at the Council’s link above. The letter can be customized.

Dear Admiral Greenert & Admiral Harris,

I would like to request that the Navy’s ‘Northern Edge’ combined training exercise scheduled for June 2015 be postponed until after mid-September and not use any live ordnance or sonar in Gulf of Alaska waters. There is no question that military preparedness drills are of national importance. However, I am gravely concerned about the risk and potential damage to Alaska’s subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries, marine habitats, fish and wildlife resources, and the regional economy.

The coastline around the GOA is home to many coastal communities and Alaska Native people who rely on marine and freshwater resources. The Temporary Maritime Activities Area is 20-24 nautical miles from communities on Kodiak Island, and other communities on the South Central Alaskan coast including Cordova, Valdez, Homer, Seward, and Yakutat.

These exercises are planned during the most prolific breeding and migratory periods of the marine supported life in the region (salmon, whales, birds and more).

The waters of the GOA include Essential Fish Habitat for many species of subsistence and commercial fisheries, including those found in Prince William Sound, which has still not fully recovered from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The area of the TMAA also supports the most sustainable and economically valuable fisheries in the USA. Commercial fishing is the largest private sector employer in Alaska, providing some 80,000 jobs as well as a healthy food source. Nearly 100% of sockeye salmon in the USA comes from Alaska. Alaska is also home to the largest wild sockeye salmon run in the world, Bristol Bay.

The Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement includes a long list of potential stressors and effects of these trainings on fish (disruption of habitat; exposure to chemical by-products; disturbance, injury, or death from the shock (pressure) wave; acoustic impacts; and indirect effects including those on prey species and other components of the food web). As the Navy states in its EIS, no studies have established the short-or long-term population-level effects of cumulative exposure of fish to any type of sound.

Given this information, I/we are extremely concerned about the potential impact the Navy’s proposed plan may have on Alaska’s fish and wildlife resources, Native subsistence activities, commercial and recreational fisheries and the regional economy. I formally object the Navy’s use of live ordnance and sonar in the GOA this June and request that all trainings be postponed until after mid September and be moved a minimum distance of 200 nautical miles offshore.

Sincerely,

 

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