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Stop Rubber Stamping of Military Permits that Harm Marine Mammals

Stop Rubber Stamping of Military Permits that Harm Marine Mammals

Name: Letter to Congress Regarding Permits that Harm Marine Mammals 

Every year, the U.S. Navy and U.S Air Force carry out countless military readiness activity tests in the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, and along the Alaskan coasts. Each of these endless training activities endangers thousands of animals, with little or no consideration of the ethical consequences. As a result of the U.S. Navy’s sonar tests, ocean-dwelling animals suffer hearing damage and behavioral disturbances that leave them disoriented, wrenched away from their pods and stranded—left to die up and down both coasts of the United States.

The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), passed in 1972, was enacted to protect marine mammals from human activities that can endanger, or even cause the extinction of, these animals. The lives and habitats of marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, harbor seals, porpoises, manatees, sea otters and even polar bears, are meant to be protected by the MMPA. However, due to the routine granting of exemptions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees administration of the MMPA, the law created to protect marine mammals is disregarded for military exercises and private industry.

According to a 2018 proposal by the U.S. Navy, its training exercises in the Pacific Ocean could kill or bring harm to 12.5 million marine mammals over the next five years. Please sign the letter, below, asking Congress to review the current latitude given to military operations affecting marine life, and to demand an ethical justification for testing that harms and kills so many animals.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please sign a letter to Congress demanding that the U.S. military stop conducting endless tests that endanger and kill large numbers of marine mammals.
  2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.

 

 

Recipients

  • Members of Congress

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Message

Introduce legislation to stop ongoing and egregious harm to marine mammals

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to provide better protection to marine mammals in the oceans around our coasts. Many species are threatened or in danger of extinction, and even those not currently endangered are being targeted in large numbers by our own government, with no consideration of the cost of life or the ethics of harming these animals for often non-essential purposes.

According to a 2018 proposal by the U.S. Navy, its training exercises in the Pacific Ocean could kill or bring harm to 12.5 million marine mammals over the next five years. These exercises would affect millions of sea lions, harbor seals, dolphins, porpoises and whales--all in the name of scientific and military research.

The U.S. Navy and U.S Air Force carry out countless military readiness activity tests in the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, and along the Alaskan coasts multiple times a year. And each of these endless training activities endangers thousands of animals, with little or no consideration of the ethical consequences. As a result of the U.S. Navy's sonar tests, ocean-dwelling animals suffer hearing damage and behavioral disturbances that leave them disoriented, wrenched away from their pods and stranded--left to die up and down both coasts of the United States.

While the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) should be protecting these animals, the routine granting of blanket exemptions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) makes a mockery of the MMPA when it comes to military exercises. In order to pursue activities that could negatively affect these animals, government agencies must apply for permits exempting them from the law and obtain letters of authorization from NOAA to allow them to carry out their construction, research, missile testing and other activities. Commonly, these permits are good for up to five years; however, the U.S. Navy routinely asks for, and receives, seven-year permits.

The U.S. military's applications for permits typically rely on information on the presence of animals that is out-of-date--most likely due to past military testing in a particular area, which causes shifts in migration patterns. Even with this erroneous data, permits routinely ask for--and are granted--permission to conduct exercises that negatively affect thousands of animals each year. The U.S. military has, in effect, special permission to harm marine mammals without review or consequences.

As your constituent, I ask you to take a fresh look at the harm done to marine animals and rein in the U.S. military's ability to continue its devastation to marine life.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]