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RIMPAC ‘Oceans 4 Peace’ plans RIMPAC protest

PMRF says Navy will take steps to protect marine life during military exercises this month

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Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 1:30 am

LIHUE — A coalition of concerned Kauai organizations and individuals will kick off a series of public events Saturday in protest of Rim of the Pacific — the biennial international military war games — which returns to Hawaiian waters later this month.

The coalition, Oceans 4 Peace, says it is “dedicated to educating the public on the dangers of permanent war preparation and naval military harm to our ocean,” including the effects of Navy sonar blasting on marine species, according to a release.

“God only knows what they’re going to do at RIMPAC,” said Gordon LaBedz of the Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter, one of five organizations that make up the coalition. “The whole thing is just a nightmare when you think we’re trying to get world peace.”

Kip Goodwin of Kauai Alliance for Peace and Justice says preparing for war will only encourage more war. 

“It is time nations prepare for peace and do training exercises that build bridges instead of walls,” he wrote in a release. 

Saturday’s event begins at 6 p.m. at the Lihue Neighborhood Center and will include a teach-in panel discussion and short film.

Speakers will include Koohan Paik, a Hawaiian filmmaker and co-author of “The Superferry Chronicles” and an expert on the U.S. Military in Polynesia and the North Pacific; marine biologist and coral expert Katherine Muzik, who will talk about the affects of sonar on marine life; and Juan Wilson of the Kauai Sierra Club.

“It’s a panel discussion, so we’re looking forward to the audience’s participation,” LaBedz said.

This summer, 23 countries, including China, are expected to participate in RIMPAC — the 24th maritime exercise since it began in 1971. The drills will last from June 26 to Aug. 1 and take place in the Hawaii Operating Area and several off-shore ranges, including Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility.

PMRF spokesperson Stefan Alford said the Navy has permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service to conduct training and testing activities around Hawaii.

“A great deal of scientific analysis goes into the environmental impact statements that NMFS requires in order to grant those permits, which allow some ‘takes’ from sonar in Hawaii-Southern California,” he wrote in an email. “The vast majority of those ‘takes’ are defined as behavioral responses, where an animal temporarily interrupts its feeding or foraging. No marine mammal mortalities are projected from sonar in RIMPAC 2014 or any of the other naval exercises in Hawaii and Southern California over the next five years.”

Alford also said there is no evidence that sonar from RIMPAC participants has caused the death of any marine mammals since RIMPAC started in 1971. Whenever Navy ships or aircraft use active sonar, they employ protective measures  — including trained lookouts and designated safety zones — to minimize the potential harm to marine life, he said.

Kalasara Setaysha, chair of Kohola Leo, sees things much differently. 

“Navy sonar sound blasting is immensely harmful to whales and dolphins who need their hearing to survive,” she wrote in a release. “Some sonar blasts are 10 times louder than a rocket launch and can cause permanent ear damage to whales and humans. A deaf whale is a dead whale.”

The coalition also expressed concerns about the Navy’s plans to sink decommissioned vessels during RIMPAC 2014, saying they would be left to pollute the ocean floor. 

Alford, however, said the vessels have been “rigorously cleaned in accordance with federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements,” including the removal of all PCB transformers and large capacitors, all small capacitors to the greatest extent practical, trash, floatable materials, mercury- or fluorocarbon-containing materials and readily detachable solid PCB items.

“Petroleum is also cleaned from each vessel’s tanks, piping and reservoirs,” he wrote. “Depleted uranium has not been used by the U.S. Navy for RIMPAC or any other activity since it was removed from our inventory years ago.”

Oceans 4 Peace, which also includes the Kauai Sierra Club and People for the Preservation of Kauai, has also set up a RIMPAC hotline where people can call in and report strange or dangerous activities that may have been caused by the exercises.

• Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cdangelo@thegardenisland.com.

© 2015 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Eagle 6 posted at 9:53 pm on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    Eagle 6 Posts: 1382

    Fair weather traitors.
    These people went to school, and still are about the highest velocity example of ignorant I have ever seen. To the point of dangerous . Pete's right Chris, and I hope you figure that one out. Your showing that the press is not ,,, you can finish my sentence in your own conscience.

  • hieronymus posted at 2:05 pm on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    hieronymus Posts: 120

    We achieve peace through strength. What gives these hippies the freedom to protest is the very military they protest against. I wonder how North Korean and Russian and Chinese citizens fare when they stage protests.

  • realitychick posted at 10:54 am on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    realitychick Posts: 238

    Those who have achieved contact with their inner higher intelligence will never be understood by the brainwashed media-controlled masses who fight to remain asleep and ignorant. Do your own research. Start with Agenda 21.

  • AnonyMouse posted at 8:07 am on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    AnonyMouse Posts: 877

    “The whole thing is just a nightmare when you think we’re trying to get world peace.”

    I'm sure that by disarming as you wish LaBedz that Russia, North Korea, China, Iran, etc. will be happy to fo the same. After all, why waste money on guns when we can spend it on pot?

  • BorninHawaii posted at 7:59 am on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    BorninHawaii Posts: 393

    I said it once, I will say it again. Next after the seed companies the naysayers are going after the Base PMRF. This is their first step, oh yeah they only want awareness just like they only wanted disclosure. .Here we go again.

    Vote "NO" to the charter amendment. Vote no to Hooiser, Bynum and Yukimura. We need to change the course of Kauai, we are in treacherous water and headed toward the reef.

  • Eagle 6 posted at 3:16 am on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    Eagle 6 Posts: 1382

    Professional activists picking fights with those that protect them. Worse than a snake oil quack.

  • Yakauai posted at 2:52 am on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    Yakauai Posts: 319

    "Alford also said there is no evidence that sonar from RIMPAC participants has caused the death of any marine mammals since RIMPAC started in 1971" . . .

    it is not just a coincidence that mass whale strandings really started to be come common in 1971.

    sonar kills or harms all sea life in the surrounding area. stop the war games! nothing should die while playing a "Game".

  • PeteAntonson posted at 2:30 am on Fri, Jun 6, 2014.

    PeteAntonson Posts: 2509

    Gee Chris, nice too see three or four balancing statements rather than being just a LaBedz handout machine!

    Don't tell Kip Goodwin; but, they'll be practice firing smart meters. It's the Navy's latest deadly force weapon!


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