A few weeks ago we put out a newsletter commenting on the candor of the U.S. Navy in the release of their Hawaii-Southern California Testing and Training Range “Draft Environmental Impact Statement (HSTT-DEIS).
I’ve just sent in our comment letter on the document, which due to time constraints we combined with our comments on the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) DEIS. After reviewing the 1600 page HSTT-DEIS and the 2100 page AFTT-DEIS I feel I was premature in using the word “candor” in describing the U.S. Navy’s motives. “Unabashed” would have been more appropriate.
Draft Environmental Impact Statements are released for public comment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It is incumbent upon the proposer of an action that might compromise habitats under State or Federal jurisdiction to do an environmental review of the proposed actions. Those who have some stake in the environment get an opportunity to express their concerns about the proposal before the plan is set into action.
While this process alludes to the best in public management of common assets, in practice it can become a “cat and mouse” game; with the issuers of the DEIS concealing important data in mountains of “cut and paste” text, substantiating their “preferred” assumptions with outdated papers, and using incomplete or inaccurate mathematical and statistical models to cast a favorable bias onto their project.
Both the HSTT and AFTT DEIS’s seemed on first blush to take the high road in their review. Both were thorough and comprehensive, and both were ‘candid’ about the impacts (which were stunningly huge).
But once the damage was highlighted, there was not even lip-service paid to mitigation. The Navy proposed these activities, and let us know what damages to expect.
You have probably seen the MoveOn petition dealing with these proposals – speaking about killing and maiming thousands of marine mammals through noise exposure, explosions, and discharge of toxic substances into their habitat.
The unabashed release of these factual DEIS’s is a new strategy, but in the light of the precarious state of the ocean the proposals are unconscionable.
Today is the last day you can comment on the documents. The MoveOn petition has collected close to a half-million signatures to date. If you haven’t added your voice, please do.