U.S. Navy gets a license to kill...whales?

  Photo Credit: " Center for Whale Research"
In the midst of a national security emergency declared against terrorism, the U.S. Navy is spending millions of dollars on a Cold War-relic sonar "bomb" that kills whales.

Experimental "Low Frequency Active" (LFA) Sonar uses an array of giant speakers to blast a basso burst of noise -- as loud as standing next to a Saturn 5 rocket launch -- into ocean waters. The deafening sound energy is strong enough to destroy sensitive hearing tissue and cause ears to bleed.

Dreamed up to detect Soviet subs lurking in the ocean, LFA Sonar is still classed as experimental because it has obvious military disadvantages: it pinpoints the presence of the surface ship towing the array and "paints" friendly subs to a listening enemy, exposing both to attack, and is fatal to Navy SEALS and other personnel working underwater. It's a dumb bomb in the age of cruise missiles. The Navy is ignoring sophisticated computer-enhanced listening devices that could be used as a substitute.

  Photo Credit: " Center for Whale Research"
Despite LFA Sonar's questionable utility and strategic obsolescence, U.S. Navy bureaucrats have received a license to deploy LFA Sonar worldwide and to keep killing whales and other marine life in our oceans.

The largest known active Sonar massacre so far identified: 14 beaked whales and 2 minke whales beached and believed dead in the Bahamas in 2000. The entire local population of beaked whales, estimated at 50 individuals, has disappeared from the area. This massacre was from a mid-range frequency Sonar system; LFA Sonar is louder and its sound energy travels longer distances. Whales and other marine mammals rely on sound to find food, attract mates, raise their young, and navigate. Deafened by LFA sonar and in severe pain, they are condemned to a horrible death on the beaches where they seek sanctuary. Other marine life, including fish, mollusks, dolphins, sea turtles, and other sensitive species will likely be impacted, but nobody knows for sure. Basic research on sound impacts on marine life is lacking.

The Navy has spent years denying that LFA Sonar has any "biological effects." Yet now it has received permission from the federal government for an exemption from whale-killing bans. Earth Island Institute believes the process and the permission violate environmental laws.

LFA Sonar does nothing to counter terrorism. It never proved useful against Soviet subs, which no longer cruise world's oceans anyway. So why is the Navy wasting a classified number of precious tax dollars (at least $375 million at last count) on a whale-killing boondoggle during a national security emergency? And why is the Navy ignoring alternative "passive" Sonars that provide more underwater information without revealing the location of our ships and submarines?


Stop the Navy's Noise Bombardment Of Our Oceans!

Get the Word Out: Set up a house party and invite your friends and neighbors to learn about LFA Sonar; write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper; get businesses in your area to agree to post signs opposing LFA Sonar; sign petitions and send letters.

Join the Effort: Support the work of environmental and animal welfare groups that are working against LFA Sonar; volunteer to help locally; throw a fundraising party for the cause; bring this issue to the attention of your local environmental, civic, business, and religious groups.

Who To Write To:

Your Members of Congress:

Representative______; House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.
Senator___________; Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510.

(Phone for Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Senators for California are the Hon. Dianne Feinstein (Room 331 Hart) and the Hon. Barbara Boxer (Room 112 Hart). If you do not know whom your local Representative is, contact your local City Hall or Registrar of Voters.)

Your President and His Cabinet:

President George W. Bush, The White House, Washington, DC 20500;
Phone (202) 456-1111.
The Hon. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, US Dept. of Defense, 1000 Defense, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301.
The Hon. Gordon R. England, Secretary of the Navy, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20350-1000.

Your Governor and State Coastal Commission (In California):

Governor Gray Davis, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Mr. Peter Douglas, Executive Director, California Coastal Commission, 45 Fremont St., San Francisco, CA 94105.

LFA Sonar Resources and Further Info (Acrobat Reader required).