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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Thanks to Sylvia Earle (LA Times, “Oceans Are in a World of Trouble”, May 20) for saying what I've been too mortified to articulate since reading Kenneth Weiss' "Seas Being Stripped of Big Fish, Study Finds", on May 15.

The generally unfortunate aspect of saving the world's oceans is that it will take global cooperation to really make a difference, and that would take a miracle at this point.
Meanwhile, here are some obvious ways we, as Americans, can clean up our collective act:
The head of the EPA says there is no evidence environmental laws interfere with military readiness. Yet our navy has always been exempt, every day of the year, war or no war, from all environmental laws 50 miles offshore. (The Department of Defense is now asking congress to permanently exempt itself from all environmental laws.) That may seem like a drop in the bucket, but consider this: A ship like the Abraham Lincoln that Bush spoke from recently houses about 5500 sailors. All their waste, (about 1000 cubic feet daily), not including some medical waste and toxics, goes into the ocean every day, legally. There are ten of these enormous multi-purpose, nuclear propelled aircraft carriers, and that's just a portion of the fleet.

Closer to home, federal regulators have quietly cut inspections of the 23 oil platforms off the Santa Barbara coast from once a week to once a month. Additionally, once a month unannounced inspections now occur only every three months.

Lastly, let us not, desperate for a quick fix, entertain the completely insane idea of introducing transgenic fish. (LA Times "It Came From the Gene Lab", May 14 ). The state has no idea how these manufactured fish, jacked up on growth hormones, will effect the environment, much less humans after we've eaten them for a generation or two.

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