Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Musings: Trying to be Heard

I awoke last night to a sound I hadn’t heard in a very long time: rain. It wasn’t a big rain, but it was so welcome, and I fell back to sleep soothed by its pitter-patter and drip. By morning, it was gone, but gray clouds remain, so am hoping we’ll get some more. It’s too early in the year to be that dry.

While walking with Koko as the birds were waking up this morning, I noticed — as I have numerous times before — that the birds that live near the property where fighting chickens are raised sing and chirp much more loudly than elsewhere along the road.

It didn’t seem to me that the area had more any more trees or denser vegetation, so all I can figure out is they’re trying hard to be heard above the cacophony of crowing.

Tomorrow evening, folks on Kauai will have a chance to be heard on an issue that could affect the hearing of marine mammals all around Hawaii — including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument — and that’s the Navy’s proposed use of high-intensity active sonar during training exercises.

In addition to using sonar, which has been linked to deafness in marine mammals — and deafness generally results in death — the Navy wants to shoot off rockets from PMRF and blow them up over Nihoa and Mokumanamana.

The Navy contends in their Draft EIS and other documents
that these activities will have no significant impact; however, they do acknowledge that some marine mammals could die as a result.

The hearing on the sonar supplement to the DEIS runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Kauai Community College. It’s the first of four hearings that will be held around the state. If you can’t make it, you can email comments through April 7 to

Although the Navy has resisted public calls to conduct such activities elsewhere or curtail them all together, they do need to run their plans through the state’s Coastal Zone Management Act.

Currently, the state is determining whether the Navyi’s proposed activities are consistent with Hawaii’s coastal protection laws. The public can comment on this through March 24.

KAHEA — the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance — has prepared an action alert on the issue with a letter you can send in and more links.

Whales, dolphins, monk seals and other animals that could be seriously harmed by the Navy’s plans to expand its training exercises and use sonar don’t have voices that can be heard by the Navy or state. But you do. Please use yours to speak on their behalf.

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