Animal Advocates Challenge Right of Navy to Threaten Lives of 31 Million Ocean Mammals

Saturday, February 02, 2013
North Atlantic right whales

Federal regulators have approved a plan by the U.S. Navy that could harm more than 31 million marine mammals, much to the dismay and opposition of environmentalists.


The plan, which the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) okayed this week through federal regulations, allows the Navy to conduct testing and training exercises off the Atlantic coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and off Southern California and Hawaii.


These tests and military exercises could injure or kill tens of millions whales, dolphins and other sea creatures over a five-year period (2014-2019), according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).


“We’re talking about a staggering and unprecedented amount of harm to more than 40 species of marine mammals that should give any federal agency involved, be it the Navy or the National Marine Fisheries Service, pause,” NRDC attorney Zak Smith said in a statement.


“NMFS has been charged by Congress to protect these mammals, not sanction their deaths,” he added. “Giving the Navy the green light to harm marine mammals 31 million times is completely counter to NMFS mission and common sense.”


Also this week, environmental groups asked a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling that allows the Navy to build a $100 million undersea training range off Georgia and Florida. Opponents say the exercises could adversely impact right whales, an endangered species.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Plan to Harm Marine Life for Navy Draws Protest (by Rebekah Kearn, Courthouse News Service)

US Navy's Sonar Shame: Agonizing Death For Whales, Dolphins And Other Marine Life (by Jean Williams,

Groups Appeal Letting Navy Train Near Whales (by Russ Bynum, Associated Press)

PG&E’s Undersea Sonic Blasts Would Map Quake Faults and Harass Marine Life (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Navy Wins Court Battle to Install Underwater Warfare Training Near Calving Ground of Endangered Whale (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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