Two weeks ago a public forum was held in Hawaii to discuss the US Navy’s Hawaii Range Complex environmental impact statement, a draft that since been approved, which outlines the proposed impact of the upcoming war games in Hawaii: some 140 projects that includes tests with sonar, Directed Energy Laser Weapons, and some that involve “radioactive materials.”
One of the biggest concerns at the forum was the effect of Sonar testing on marine life. The navy plans to do anywhere up to five-thousand hours of active tactical sonar tests, which will reach up to 195 decibels in volume.
The navy says there’s no cause for alarm, that 195 decibels is safe—but that’s just not true. A burst of sound at 160db (a gun shot) is enough to explode any humans eardrum, never mind an aural assault of 195db on whale life for maybe 5,000 hours.
One of the speakers at the forum said the Navy specifically chose November to begin its sonar tests because that’s the time humpback whales return to Hawaiian waters. As for the laser weapons, well they’re not so much laser as chemical—weapons which release a powerful burst of Hydrogen fluoride in the form of infrared radiation. The lasers can generate at least 25 megawatts of energy, an equivalent to half the electrical energy generating capacity of Kauai (population 60,000) and destroy a missile 2,000 miles away. The firing of this weapon actually destroys the weapon itself, and creates a 1000-foot-radius danger zone, flooding the area with hydrogen fluoride, which is highly corrosive and toxic.
The Navy gave no adequate coverage on the effect of hydrogen fluoride in their impact assessment, and no plans were outlined in the event there are heavy rains which will drag the chemical into the land and ocean.
Following the forum, a protest was held on September 6th, where Maui residents continued to voice their concerns… but it fell on deaf ears.
The navy continues to insist there is no cause for alarm, and they’ve stated that they will not alter their plans, what they’ve already been doing for the last 30 years.
The games are set to being on September 17.
John runs the blog Intercontinental Cry, which covers news and events about Indigenous and human rights issues around the world