Vol. 2 No. 2 30APR2000
Voice of the Dolphin
 
 

To the Navy on LFAS, & the Whales

POBox 1645 Pahoa, Hawai'I 96778 siriusinstitute@yahoo.com


Voice of the Dolphin
Vol. 2 No. 2 April 30, 2000
 
Mr. J. S. Johnson
Attn: SURTASS LFA Sonar OEIS/EIS Program Manager
901 N. Stuart Street, Suite 708
Arlington, VA 22203
 
Dear Mr. Johnson:
 
Aloha!
 
My comments on the Navy EIS on the LFAS/SURTASS project are well summarized by the enclosed letter received from MarMam, the professional marine mammal mailing list. I am sure you have gotten many letters along these lines.
 
Obviously, the LFAS, at full power, can deafen, maim and kill fish, marine mammals such as seals, whales, dolphins, and may effect other ecosystems and their inhabitants. One mechanism in the low frequencies is resonance, especially of the lung and organ cavities, and of the bouyancy bladders of fish and the like. For example the resonance frequency of the Fin Whale lung is estimated to be at 20 Hz. So, depending on the power vs frequency curves involved, and the range, and many other factors, the LFAS could cause lung hemorrhage and other damage.
As noted by A. Frantzis and others, including the Moby Dick Society, LFAS and other similar sounds can deafen whales and lead to strandings. As to effects on other creatures yet to be studied, we have zero knowledge of how these are or may be effected, and yet, the LFAS is intended to be used in 80% of the oceans, putting many creatures at risk. At the very least, this could wipe out a lot of fish, leaving already decimated fish populations even more reduced, leading to ecological changes, and possibly more human starvation.
 
All these matters are ignored or have been addressed poorly by the current EIS, and therefore, it should be contested, rejected, and the project stopped.
 
However, how likely is this to happen? Already, all the major regulatory agencies involved have caved into Navy pressure, and the Marmam list and most of the professional scientists are silent. How does this result? Navy pressure? Fear? Since Clinton, Gore, Congress, the MMPA, the, Hawai'I State Government, the Hawai'I Humpback Whale Sanctuary, and some 500,000 emails on the last round of testing in Hawai'I failed to change anything, and the Navy continues to ignore negative data from their own designated program monitors like Dr. Marsha Green of the Ocean Mammal Institute, and other numerous reports of humans and baby whales already harmed by their testing and at least some reports of harm to humans in the water near the test vessel.
 
Whatever your reference levels, or other measures, tests at 140 dB or so, are a far cry from the 240 dB levels projected for the 18 projector array and this is still faint compared to perhaps numerous LFAS ships operating in the future, globally, simultaneously, since various means are possible by which the loudness and power of the sounds of LFAS may be louder at a long distance from the projectors than near them, (according to the Director of the New England Aquarium), so discussions of the loudness of the projectors themselves mean little to the actual operational conditions.
 
I am sure the Navy knows all this and chooses to bamboozle us instead.
 
So, again, the issue is whitewashed, spun, and we are wrongly informed. If things go on, it will be one more EIS in which the Navy gets what it wants, and the people and the Cetacea, and the rest of the oceans, lose. It will likely be rubber-stamped, and the obfuscations, omissions, and other errors and lies will be accepted as "legal" and "scientific" when in fact, the EIS is neither science, nor legal -- at best it will be a paper trail that will have the "color of law" and serve to put us to sleep and pretend that someone even cares what happens.
 
One can pray that somewhere there are honorable humans at all levels that will see that LFAS is stopped or at least used properly before the Cetacea, fish and other creatures suffer any further.
 
Still, I remind you that 80% of the US populace supports the end of whaling and the protection of the Cetacea. People worldwide now know more about the Cetacea than the Navy is willing to admit, and that knowledge, and with it sympathy and support for our compatriots in the sea is growing.
 
Do you want to be the people who will tell your children that you helped to destroy the largest brains, the most intelligent creatures, and the largest creatures that ever lived on the planet?
 
Despite the intense campaign to "dumb down" the public's impression of the whales and dolphins, and even to portray them as "muderous" in recent over-played stories, the truth remains the truth.
 
I remind you that even the Russians announced the ending of whaling by their ships after they reviewed Lilly's work on the Cetacean consciousness and sentience, some 30 years ago, now. This work is still the truth. It will always be the truth. And the Navy knows the truth of this as well, since they funded part of the studies. It is now politically expedient to ignore it, so what? It is still the truth.
I am shamed by actions such as those of the US Coast Guard, guarding Makah whalers with their ships while they kill endangered species so the meat can be sold to the Japanese and provide excuses to start whaling again. I am so ashamed that this is happening in my country, I expected better of us, and still do.
 
And now the Navy is chiming in with a sonar system, that can commit genocide on the whales, at their choosing. And I say this advisedly. The Cetacea are a people in fact and truth. Killing such intelligent, sentient creatures is, therefore, the killing of a conscious entity, at least as conscious as any of us, and worthy of respect and protection. Further, therefore, by the Geneva Convention and the Nuremburg Accords, weapons of mass destruction and genocide are against the law, as shown by the recent rulings on the Trident submarines in Scotland, and LFAS may well be in the same category.
 
I understand that the motto in the Navy these days is "Every Day Is Earth Day"
 
I expect you to live up to that. My father served in the Navy, and I served in the Navy. I respect and honor the men and women who "put themselves in harms way" to protect home and family. And I pray that these individuals will use their devices with care and wisdom and only when absolutely necessary, for a proper purpose.
 
I can only hope that there is a good reason behind the Navy's efforts to blind us all the effects of LFAS, beyond budgets and the inertia of existing projects. Yet, the threats or reasons this system is being deployed are obscure. I will give the Navy the maximum benefit of doubt.... perhaps there is something they need this for, that for good reason, must be kept secret.
 
In that case, I pray and pray again, that if it must, or will be used, then use it wisely, and carefully, and in limited areas. You now have a power that can decimate what is left of the oceans. Please, please, consider this, and consider it again. Think of your children, their children, the whales, the dolphins, the fish, our food supplies, the reefs, the beautiful planet we live on and require for our very lives. It is all sacred and precious. Remember this, and choose wisely, like the honorable people I know are in the military, and who sacrifice daily for our safety.
 
Please remember that we also have to have a planet that works, and works well, otherwise, we might destroy that which we wish to defend.
 
And to the EPA and others who review this proposal....
 
This is a global issue. This should be properly kicked to a level where global debate is started, with the US, NATO, the UN, and all other nations.... the oceans belong to only God, and out of respect and honor to the people of the world, everyone should be included in the discussion and approval of a project covering 80% of the oceans. This is an issue that transcends national boundaries, and therefore, the EPA could decide it is beyond its jurisdiction to rule on, and kick it to global agencies for further review. I call on your hearts and honesty to judge properly and understand the far-reaching consequences of your decisions.
 
And to the Navy. Should this horror be deployed, perhaps there are ways to mitigate the effects of its use, and in the face of the juggernaut of the Navy PR department, it may go through. In such case, in the spirit of Aloha, and cooperation, I offer my aid in whatever way possible to insure the continued prosperity, abundance and safety of all the creatures of the Earth, the Seas, and especially our Cetacean partners with whom we share the planet... a fully sentient group with brains, intellect and societies on a par with our own, in fact, perhaps, beyond ours.
 
Think about it.
 
Michael T. Hyson, Ph.D.
 
POBox 1979
Pahoa, Hawai'I 96778


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