By Michael Jasny/Switchboard
The Senate will shortly be considering a provision that would allow the U.S. Navy to injure and kill California sea otters, without complying with the core wildlife statutes protecting this threatened species.
Recently, the House added language to this year’s defense authorization bill that outright exempts the Navy from two federal laws, the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act, for any harm it causes sea otters off its Southern California bases. The effect would be to thwart conservation efforts there, relieving the military of its basic legal obligation to minimize impacts on this species to the extent practicable. Senator Reid says the new authorization bill, which is now before the Senate, will come to a floor vote by Thanksgiving.