Since 2005, Tribes in Mendocino & Lake Counties have opposed Navy training and testing in the Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) range. For countless generations, the Tribes have maintained deeply significant cultural and spiritual ties to the coastline and ocean waters adjacent to Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, California.
The Tribes have commented on earlier reviews of the environmental impacts of the training and testing, and are now requesting the public to submit comments on the Navy’s current Draft Supplemental EIS (SEIS) to support the Tribes’ position. The comment deadline is June 12, 2019.
Please include in your comments to the Navy your support of the following Tribal issues, along with any additional concerns you may have:
• Ask that the Navy work meaningfully with Pacific coast Tribes to develop measures that will reduce impacts to the Tribes’ cultural ways of life.
• Urge the Navy to expand prohibited activities in the 50-mile mitigation area to include use of sonar. Sonar causes serious harm to the health and wellbeing of whales and other marine mammals.
• Request that the “best available science” referenced in the Draft SEIS be expanded to meaningfully take into account Tribal Traditional Knowledge.
• Request that the Navy’s monitoring program be expanded to include effects of training and testing beyond potential harm to species population levels. Population level effects are insufficient to fully take into account the potential harm that Navy training and testing may cause.
• Urge the Navy to expand its list of environmental “stressors” to include those parts of the Study Area that encompass Tribal cultural resources, and the concept that those resources have intangible features, such as spiritual connections, which will be impacted by the training and testing.
• Request that the cumulative effect of ocean acidification should also be considered in the SEIS. The Draft SEIS concludes that impacts to water quality from explosives and explosives byproducts in training and testing remains valid and does not need to be reconsidered. This conclusion neglects to take into account the effect that changes in climate may have on the corrosive power of an increasingly acidic ocean. Specifically, the Draft SEIS does not consider the likelihood that acidification of ocean waters will accelerate corrosion of explosive devices and byproducts of training and testing.
For more details on the Draft SEIS, and how to submit your comments, go to: https://www.nwtteis.com.