Navy Use of Gulf of Alaska EIS

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest 9/21/14
attention: Ms Amy Burt—GOA Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager
1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203
Silverdale, WA 98315-1101

Dear Planners,

The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition is a statewide non-profit group with members and supporters from all parts of the state. Our mission statement includes representing the rights of wildlife to natural quiet.

It has been well established that man-made noises can interfere with animal communication both on land and sea, that undersea noises are transmitted great distances, and that extremely loud noises can rupture eardrums, increase stress, change feeding behaviors and kill animals. This is, of course, all well know to Navy planners. The Navy is also aware that the Marine Mammals Protection Act (MMPA) prohibits United States citizens from killing marine mammals.

The United States Military apparently considers itself as outside the laws of the country and not subject to the same laws that apply to the rest of us. Even though the US Navy goes through the motions of an EIS, the “No Action” alternative is apparently not being considered for the proposed GOA naval exercises. It is the only alternative that would be within the law.

“Mitigation” plans do not include the obvious need to either cancel the exercises or move them out to the deep ocean and away from the concentration of marine mammal feeding areas. The plans also apparently do not include using winter months to avoid whale migrations months. Why not ?

The MMPA was enacted for a reason. Marine mammals are an essential part of the marine ecosystem. In a time of climate change, acidification of the oceans, and over- fishing pressures, adding to the stress levels and kill rate of these animals is not in the best interest of either our country or our planet.

We are asking the US Navy to reconsider its Gulf of Alaska plans.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

Elizabeth Hatton,
for the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition
P.O.Box 202592
Anchorage, AK 99520