The Navy says that the pending increases in warfare activities are necessary and their draft environmental impact statement, released Dec. 29, concludes (with no surprise) that expanded training won't harm marine life or the public. But environmental groups, fishermen and some politicians are wary, stating that the military sprang the 1,000-page environmental review of its increased training plan with little notice and has provided only minimal assessment periods or input from residents.
At risk are the southern resident orcas and nine marine mammal species listed as threatened or endangered, including seven whales. And thanks to George Bush and more recently, The Supreme Court, it certainly appears as though the Navy's plans may go completely unchallenged despite the incongruity of the situation at hand. There is hope, however. The comment period, once limited to a couple of weeks between January 27 and mid-February, has now been extended to April 13, 2009, to allow for additional public input. Should you be so inclined, please take a look at the Draft Impact Statement (as ugly as it is) and send your comments to the Government. You can also send an email or fill out a comment form online.