But in this case, analogous to the classic guns vs. butter argument, I come down wholeheartedly on the side of the critters.
The Navy plans to increase ocean warfare exercises, conduct more sonar tests and expand coastal training areas by hundreds of square miles - activities that could injure hundreds of thousands of marine mammals or disturb their habitats, federal records show.
Training areas already are established along most of the continental U.S. coastline, so the Navy is seeking federal permits to broaden an existing range off the Pacific Northwest and dramatically expand exercises and sonar use in the Gulf of Alaska.
The Navy estimates in federal permit applications that its activity in those areas will impact about half a million sea mammals each year, including seals, sea lions and whales, some of which are endangered.
The effects range from brief interruptions in normal feedings to significant injury and, in very rare instances, death.
However, the Navy's plans have ignited a debate with environmental groups that say the service underestimates the long-term impact of its activities and fails to restrict training sufficiently in marine sanctuaries and other areas where it is likely to affect sensitive species. The plans to expand training off the Pacific Northwest, where the service's exercise areas reach into the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, have drawn about 3,500 public comments, most in opposition.
Trading off safety and security for a few marine mammals? Many would think that's a good trade, but I don't. We need biodiversity and healthy ecosystems more than we can possibly imagine.
Just think, For. The. Children. If that's our credo, we will always do the right thing.