This week’s Take Action Thursday urges opposition to bills that will harm marine mammals.
Two bills, the Streamlining Environmental Approvals (SEA) Act, HR 3133, and the SECURE American Energy Act, HR 4239, propose to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) in favor of the oil, gas and wind industries, at a severe cost to whales, dolphins and other marine life.
These bills would decrease the amount of time required for issuing permits and would allow hasty approval for gas and oil drilling, and for offshore wind projects. The shortened approval time would leave the welfare of marine mammals out of the review process. It would allow business interests to essentially run down the clock while their projects are approved, avoiding the necessity of addressing the detrimental impact of the projects on wildlife. These bills also expand the areas covered and the number of marine mammals potentially affected by such projects.
The impact on animals by such projects could be far-reaching: Increased exposure to loud sounds and even chemical emissions that typically accompany such projects can affect the hearing, communication, stress levels and breeding habits of already endangered whales and dolphins. Construction projects could also put the well-being of polar bears and walruses at risk.
Even more appalling is that permit holders would be exempt from protections provided by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which would allow for “taking” (in other words, killing, harming, harassing, pursuing, hunting or trapping) an endangered or threatened marine mammal, as long as the permit holders comply with the revised permit requirements.
The purpose of the MMPA and ESA is to protect endangered species from exactly the type of harm that would result when high-risk commercial interests take priority over the protection of natural resources and the survival of endangered animals.
Please contact your U.S. Representative, asking them to oppose the harmful taking of marine mammals.