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A petition circulating on the internet and promoted by the progressive activist group MoveOn.org claims that an underwater sound system being used by the Navy off the coast of California, Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, and along the Atlantic shoreline has the potential to kill 1,800 whales and dolphins and deafen nearly 16,000 more over the next five years.

“It is unacceptable and illegal for the Navy to summarily dismiss what is acknowledged to be the most effective means of reducing harm to whales and dolphins — avoiding areas associated with high marine mammal density — claiming instead that it needs wholesale access to nearly 5 million square nautical miles of sea space to conduct training and testing activities,” says Zac Smith, staff attorney for the National Resource Defense Council in a release.

Petitioner Lyndia Storey seeks to submit her request for the Navy to cease using the system, along with signatures that topped 400,000 as of Monday morning, for inclusion in an Environmental Impact Statement on the “high-frequency underwater sound” testing program. Storey intends to personally deliver the petition in San Diego tomorrow.

The Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego released its own study earlier this year suggesting that ocean noise created by various human activities creates undue hazards for the endangered blue whale.

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