United States Military Environmental Devastation and Destruction of the Pacific Ocean
The United States military has become a runaway juggernaut of environmental devastation and destruction. From the global climate engineering assault (that is poisoning the entire planet and ripping Earth’s climate and life support systems apart), to the insane, blatant, and willful slaughter of ocean life, the actions of our military are truly beyond rational comprehension. Though many have chosen to primarily blame Fukushima fallout for the shocking North American west coast marine life collapse, there is much more to the story. How bad is the die-off?
The recent headlines below should be a stark wakeup call.
“Dead animals litter California beaches… Alarming phenomenon” — “Graveyard of washed-up sea life” — “Influx of malnourished sea creatures” — Experts: We’re really starting to worry… The animals are starving to death… Covered in sores… Stunted growth… Weak immune systems
As Pacific sardine collapse worsens, scientists worry about ecosystem ripple
Scientists: West Coast bird die-off “is biggest ever recorded” — Stomachs completely empty — “Staggering… Alarming… Unheard of… Never seen anything like it” — “Unprecedented in size, scope, duration” — “Deaths could reach many hundreds of thousands”
“Mind Blowing”: Die-off in Pacific far worse than anything ever seen before — Expert: Alarm over what’s happening in ocean — Deaths puzzling gov’t scientists, “I’ve never heard of such a thing anywhere in world” — Reports: Beaches full of bodies… Countless carcasses
Collapse of kelp forest imperils North Coast ocean ecosystem
What part has the US military likely played in the unfolding catastrophic die-off? The truth is beyond shocking. The important excerpts below are from ajust released report from The West Coast Action Alliance.
“PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 15, 2014) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) fires a Harpoon missile during a sinking exercise as part of Valiant Shield 2014. Air and sea units from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force participated in the sinking exercise of the ex-USS Fresno.”
The West Coast Action Alliance examined the Navy’s Northwest Training and Testing EIS(Environmental Impact Statement) and the Letters of Authorization for incidental takes of marine mammals issued by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. We found some startling numbers. These numbers apply to the coastal waters of Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Southeast Alaska, as well as inland waters including the San Juan Islands,
First, a comparison of baseline to proposed numbers of activities listed in the October 2015 EIS revealed the following:
72% increase in electronic warfare operations,
50% increase in explosive ordance disposal in Crescent Harbor and Hood Canal,
244% increase in air combat maneuvers (dogfighting)
400% increase in air-to-surface missile exercises (including Olympic National Marine Sanctuary),
400% increase in helicopter tracking exercises,
778% increase in number of torpedoes in inland waters,
3,500% increase in number of sonobuoys,
From none to 284 sonar testing events in inland waters,
From none to 286 “Maritime Security Operations” using 1,320 small-caliber rounds (blanks) in Hood Canal, Dabob Bay, Puget Sound & Strait of Juan de Fuca,
72% increase in chaff dropped from aircraft (contains tiny glass fibers and more than a dozen metals,)
1,150% increase in drone aircraft,
1,150% increase in drone surface vehicles,
1,450% increase in expendable devices. These are just a few.
Further ongoing military exercises include on North America’s west coast include:
2 ship sinking exercises each year with 24 bombs, 22 missiles, 80 large caliber rounds and 2 heavyweight high explosive torpedoes,
30 air-to-surface bombing exercises, including in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary,
160 gunnery exercises with small, medium & large caliber rounds, missiles, and high explosive warheads offshore, includes Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary,
An active-duty Navy pilot confided that fuel dumping incidents occur more often than the public realizes; they happen about once a month.
A “take” is a form of harm ranging from disturbance to injury to death. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act there are two classifications, called Level A and Level B. Level B is mostly harassment, and Level A is injury (or death.) Most takes allowed are in the harassment category, but harassment causes behavior changes such as abandonment of feeding, nursing, and migration habitat. If a marine mammal that relies on echolocation to find food can’t hear, it has to work harder to feed itself. If it can’t take in extra food, it loses weight. A study on the increases in metabolism in bottlenose dolphins showed that after the animals had to work harder to find food or be heard, it took another 7 minutes per episode for oxygen consumption to return to normal levels. That translates eventually to starvation if they cannot find enough food to make up the difference.
The problem with Level A harassment is in documenting injuries or deaths; frequent mass strandings have occurred days after naval activity in an area, but in nearly every case the Navy disavows being the cause. They do not allow federal wildlife agency experts aboard their ships because of security concerns about civilians; however, civilian fitness instructors are found on many Navy ships. None of the mitigation measures require the Navy to tow hydrophones to listen for marine mammals before commencing exercises; the Navy’s technology for observing whether marine mammals are present is the same that has been used since the 17th century: two lookouts at the bow of the ship.
How can the military machine be so completely out of control? Because, so far, the US population as a whole does not want to be bothered with uncomfortable or “depressing” news and information. Because, so far, most are not at all interested in showing some responsibility toward the greater good by actually investigating what is going on in the world, let alone doing their part to affect positive change. What further details do we have about the US military’s ongoing assault against ocean life? The exceptional report from the WCAA continues below.
Seal pups are very vulnerable to the “harassment” of the US military’s ongoing naval exercises
The noise threshold for hearing damage in humans is 85 decibels. For every 10-decibel increase, the intensity of the noise increases by a factor of ten; therefore, a 115-decibel noise, which is roughly what a Growler jet makes when passing overhead at altitude of 1000 feet, is a thousand times louder than the 85-decibel threshold for human hearing damage. Navy sonar is capable of at least 235 decibels at the source. This is over 10 trillion times more intense than the 85-decibel threshold. At a distance of 300 miles away from the source, underwater noise can still be 140 decibels. 140 decibels is sufficient to vibrate and rupture internal organs, and has been assessed by the French government as “a weapon to kill people.”
Humpback feeding and migration areas
What does this mean? Since the Navy is positioning its ships in whale migration routes and feeding areas without regard to peak times of use for the animals, it means the animals will continue to work harder and to lose weight if they can’t find enough to eat, which is already exacerbated by climate change and decreasing abundance of their food. Since 30 large whales washed up on Alaskan beaches last summer in what NOAA called an “Unusual Mortality Event,” and since it was during the time Navy ships were up there conducting “Operation Northern Edge” sonar and bombing exercises, and since every single dead whale was also emaciated, one has to wonder who in their right mind wouldn’t take steps to reduce harassment of already-stressed animals.
Whale deaths are now common along the North American West Coast, is it any wonder why?
Here are take numbers from the Northwest Training and Testing EIS, for just the waters from Northern California to Southeast Alaska, including Puget Sound and other inland waters:
Whales (toothed and baleen) 18,921
Dolphins and porpoises 843,465
Seals and sea lions 364,538
Here are those numbers broken down by NWTT area:
Coastal waters of California, Oregon and Washington: 575,258
Washington inland waters (Puget Sound, Hood Canal): 343,310
Southeast Alaska: 10,950
Eastern North Pacific (offshore) 21,996
Remember, these numbers do not include takes to endangered and threatened seabirds, fish, sea turtles or terrestrial species impacted by Navy activities, using sonar, explosives, underwater and surface drones, sonobuoys, ships, submarines, aircraft, or troops training on 68 beaches and state parks in western Washington. The numbers also do not include takes for smaller projects such as underwater detonation exercises and/or pile-driving and construction at Port Angeles, Bremerton, Everett, Kitsap, or Whidbey Island, nor does it include impacts from sonar and other acoustic devices at the Keyport Range Complex Expansion, or any impacts brushed over in dozens of Environmental Assessments that split the projects into smaller pieces so they don’t rise to the threshold of a full-blown EIS.
With regard to the 72% increase in chaff, the EIS says it is “…typically packaged in cylinders approximately 6 in. by 1.5 in. (15.2 cm by 3.8 cm), weighing about 5 oz. (140 g), and containing a few million fibers. Chaff may be deployed from an aircraft or may be launched from a surface vessel. The chaff fibers are approximately the thickness of a human hair (generally 25.4 microns in diameter) and range in length from 0.3 to 2 in. (0.8 to 5.1 cm). The major components of the chaff glass fibers and the aluminum coating are alumina, boron oxide, sodium oxide, potassium oxide, copper, manganese, silicon, iron, zinc,vanadium, titanium, and other metals.”
A 1997 Air Force study reviewed the potential impacts of chaff inhalation on humans, livestock, and other animals and concluded that the fibers are “…too large to be inhaled into the lungs.” Whose lungs? A fiber the thickness of a human hair is certainly inhalable by human beings, even children. And what about marine mammals with upturned and very large breathing holes? The fibers, said the study, were predicted to be deposited in the nose, mouth, or trachea and either swallowed or expelled. Has the public been made aware of the effects of chaff ingestion? Is chaff inhalation or ingestion by marine mammals considered a taking? Not that we could see.
Chaff being dropped from a fighter jet. Chaff is often accompanied by flares.
The West Coast Action Alliance noticed some discrepancies among the Letters of Authorization (LOA) issued by NOAA to the Navy for takes; for example, more than 133,000 takes for bottlenose dolphins off the Northern California-Oregon-Washington coast were not listed in the LOA for the Northwest Training and Testing EIS – they were in the LOA for Hawaii-Southern California. Why? We don’t know, but the omission certainly helped to reduce the appearance of large numbers of marine mammal takes in the NWTT area. Curious, we looked at the LOAs for four EISs done in four regions of the North Pacific: the Gulf of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest coast, Hawaii-Southern California, and the Marianas Islands. What we found was shocking.
When you consider, for example, that the best estimate for the number of gray whales in the eastern North Pacific is 21,000, and that they migrate up and down the West Coast from Alaska to Mexico, but that the numbers of takes allowed to the Navy in the areas of the Pacific where gray whales might be found is 60,610, it becomes clear that multiple harassment incidents to the same animals throughout their range are not only anticipated but allowed.
Where gray whales are found
The WCAA also found it interesting and disturbing that neither sonar, bombing, explosives, nor any military activity whatsoever is included on NOAA’s list of threats caused by human impacts. Why, when this this much harm is being done on such a scale?
Takes by species: If you add up all the Navy’s takes of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions for these four regions of the North Pacific, it is nearly 12 million.
Click here to see the take numbers broken down by individual species and regions, but you might want to be sitting down, it’s a horrifying picture. And remember, it only includes marine mammals.
The Navy prides itself on a concept it calls “Distributed Lethality,” the definition of which is “ …the condition gained by increasing the offensive power of individual components of the surface force (cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships [LCSs], amphibious ships, and logistics ships) and then employing them in dispersed offensive formations known as “hunter-killer SAGs.” SAG stands for “Surface Action Group.” The Navy has already sent a “hunter-killer pack of ships” into the Pacific toward Asia, in a clear sign that war games across the globe evidently know no limits to civilians.
It’s also clear that when it comes to wildlife, the Navy distributes lethality very, very well.
The west coast of North America has become the new US military “proving grounds” as the South Pacific was for the catastrophic nuclear detonations of the past.
The military/industrial complex is completely and totally out of control on every front. In addition to the all out assault against ocean life outlined above, there are also the ongoing “ocean fertilization” programs that are very likely utilizingindustrial waste for this process. And we should not forget to take into account the historically routine dumping of nuclear waste into the seas by then US military and others. Fracking waste is also routinely being dumped into the west coast waters. What will be the final consequence of the ongoing global destruction of our oceans by the US military and human activity (including Fukushima) as a whole? If the oceans die, we die. From the catastrophic climate engineering destruction to the assault on our seas, the military juggernaut of absolute insanity is pushing all life on Earth toward mathematically certain near term total extinction. If we can fully expose the truth, we will have a chance of changing course. The effort to reach a critical mass of awareness must be borne by us all, make your voice heard.