Re: “Washington state officials slam Navy’s changes to military testing program that would harm more orcas” [July 29, Northwest]:
Navy training is not what is wrong with Washington state or orcas. Proposed naval training and testing represents standard expiration and renewal of compliance for operations conducted for many years.
Navy actions should impact all large marine mammals. Yet humpback populations are returning to pre-whaling numbers. Additionally, porpoises, minke and gray whales are increasingly common sights in the Puget Sound.
Poor water quality, acute dietary specialization, low birthrates and predator competition severely affect southern resident orcas. It’s not the Navy, now or in the future.
Consider: The Navy and its various partners have secured numerous easements; conserved and restored critical near-shore habitats; plus protected thousands of acres and many miles of shoreline. It is also the No. 2 federal organization for marine-mammal research. The long-term status of orcas, salmon and most other marine species benefit greatly.
With its significant contributions (national defense, economic stability, prolific search-and-rescue and meaningful marine conservancy) to Washington state, the Navy should be commended not routinely obstructed.
Steve Bristow, spokesperson, Navy League, Oak Harbor