ACTION ALERT: The US Explodes a 40,000-lb Bomb in the Waters Off Florida
Blast kills an unknown number of dolphins, whales, and other marine life
(July 2, 2021) — In a perfect example of US priorities, the Navy detonated a 40,000-pound bomb off the coast of Florida in precious marine wildlife habitat, blasting it and the animals there to pieces in order to test to see if “its newest aircraft carrier … is ready for war.”
And this isn’t even the last of what the Navy has planned. Every year they do thousands of these explosive, destructive tests, all to the detriment of our marine friends.
Any explosive test like this is horrifically violent for nearby marine mammals like dolphins, orcas, and whales — it is likely to kill any of these animals within a mile or more, and any mammals within six miles of the blast can suffer horrible injuries and hearing loss. This is particularly heartbreaking when you think about how animals like dolphins and whales rely so heavily on echolocation, which requires them being able to hear each other, in order to communicate with their pods and families.A deaf marine mammal is basically doomed to loneliness, strife, or even death.
Worse yet, this test was way bigger than typical explosive tests like it, meaning biologists and environmentalists really can’t fathom the death toll and reverberating impact.
The grim number of fatalities and the extent of the environmental destruction is hard to determine not just because this blast’s size was particularly outrageous. It’s also because the Navy literally doesn’t employ trained biologists to monitor marine mammals that could be affected by their test bombs.
Concerned scientists and environmental experts call it “a black box of an exercise” because there is literally no way to tell what the Navy did to protect marine mammals before the blast — or if they did anything at all. They don’t have to disclose that information, which means they probably never will.
One thing we know the Navy didn’t do is take into consideration time of year in order to avoid more animal death. The area off the coast of Florida where this massive bomb exploded is “home to populations of dolphin and small whales at this time of year,” and their size means they are far more likely to die from the explosion than larger mammals. If the Navy had taken this into account, they would have done this test when those species had migrated out of the area.
The official Twitter account of the aircraft carrier in question tweeted a triumphant video of the blast, which was the same as a 3.9-magnitude earthquake.But all we see when we watch the footage of the blue water turning into a white cone is all of the animals, nearby and miles away, who are losing their families, their hearing, their safety, or even their lives.
Sign the petition and demand that the United States Navy stop needlessly killing marine animals — they must come up with new ways to test their ships!
US Navy Detonates 40,000-Pound Bomb Off Florida Coast
Progressives say the money would be better spent on healthcare and other human needs
(June 23, 2021) — Marine mammal experts this week expressed deep concern over the potentially devastating effects of the US Navy’s recent detonation of 40,000 pounds of explosives off the Atlantic coast of Florida on sea life, while progressive observers blasted what they called the government’s misplaced spending priorities.
The Navy set off the massive blast — which registered as a magnitude 3.9 earthquake on shore — on June 18 about 100 miles off Palm Coast as the first in a series of full ship shock trials on the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $12.8 billion nuclear-powered aircraft carrier commissioned in 2017.
“The US Navy conducts shock trials of new ship designs using live explosives to confirm that our warships can continue to meet demanding mission requirements under harsh conditions they might encounter in battle,” the Navy explained in a press release.
The statement claimed the explosion occurred “within a narrow schedule that complies with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area.”
The region is home to various marine mammal species including bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, and North Atlantic right whales. While whales are not typically seen off the northern Florida coast in June, marine experts nevertheless expressed alarm over potential harm to mammals and other sea life.
“The Navy’s own modeling indicates that some smaller species of marine mammals would be expected to die within one to two kilometers of the blast, and that some marine mammal species would suffer injury including hearing loss out to 10 kilometers of the blast,” Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Marine Mammal Protection Project, told The Guardian. “That gives some sense of the power of the explosives we are talking about.”
“A large whale might need to be within a few hundred meters of the blast to die, while a small mammal could be a couple of kilometers away,” added Jasny, who said that even if the animals survive the blast, potential hearing loss still poses a grave risk to species which use that sense to locate food and their companions.
The US Navy has previously come under fire for its use of undersea sonar, which can injure and kill marine mammals. In 2015, the Navy agreed to limit its use of underwater sonar and explosives in particularly sensitive areas for scores of vulnerable species.
While numerous observers worried about the effects of blast testing on marine life, others expressed concerns about misplaced government priorities, with the advocacy group Public Citizen tweeting that “94% of public school teachers spend their own money on school supplies.” Some social media users responded to CBS News‘ tweet about the explosion lamenting that the United States still does not have universal healthcare.
Janet Weil, an activist with the peace group CodePink and the Portland, Oregon branch of Extinction Rebellion, called the text a “waste of tax dollars and resources.”
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely