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SIGN-On LETTER CALLING FOR HALT OF MILITARY OPERaTIONS IN OKINAWA DUGONG HABITAT

April 23, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
Public Relations Division, Cabinet Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan 100-8968

Dear President Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama:

If the proposal to relocate the military operations of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station to Camp Schwab and Henoko Bay moves forward as planned, it will destroy one of the last healthy coral-reef ecosystems in Okinawa and push several nationally and internationally protected species to the brink of extinction.

Under a 2006 bilateral agreement, the U.S. and Japanese governments agreed to relocate the contentious Futenma Air Station to Camp Schwab and Henoko Bay. However, this shortsighted plan did not take into consideration that the relocation would destroy a valued ecosystem, including nearly 400 types of coral and habitat for more than 1,000 species of fish. It would also hurt imperiled sea turtles and the iconic Okinawa dugong.

The critically endangered and culturally treasured dugong, a manatee-like creature, relies on the pristine conditions of Henoko Bay. Japan’s Mammalogical Society placed the dugong on its Red List of Mammals, estimating the population in Okinawa to be critically endangered. The Okinawa dugong has considerable cultural significance for the Okinawan people, and only about 50 dugongs are thought to remain in these waters. The base construction would imperil the last remaining critical habitat for the Okinawa dugong, destroying feeding trails and seagrass beds essential for dugong survival.

Not only is the Okinawa dugong locally revered, it has been internationally recognized as a species of special concern and status. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has designated the 2010 Year for Biodiversity as the year of the dugong. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has urged the Japanese government to establish a dugong protected area, as well as an action plan that would avoid or minimize adverse effects caused by the U.S. Marine Corps facility. The World Conservation Union’s dugong specialists have expressed similar concerns and have placed the dugong on their Red List of threatened species. The Okinawa dugong is also a federally listed endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and the U.S. government’s Marine Mammal Commission fears the project would pose a serious threat to this mammal’s survival.

The base plan would devastate dugong habitat in Henoko Bay and nearby Oura Bay. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and the Democratic Party of Japan have expressed the desire to renegotiate the 2006 agreement and cancel plans to relocate the base. Local residents have voted against the airbase project in a referendum, and now Okinawa’s Prefectural Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution asking Prime Minister Hatoyama to move the Marine Corps air operations off the island. The prime minister has announced he will wait until the end of May 2010 to decide whether to proceed with the relocation as planned in the 2006 U.S.-Japan realignment agreement, or whether he will attempt to negotiate with the United States for an alternate site.

We urge you to renegotiate the terms of the 2006 realignment agreement and abandon this destructive project in order to ensure that the Okinawa dugong has a fighting chance at celebrating its importance in 2010 and years to come. By canceling the plan to construct an airbase near Henoko Bay, you will protect a globally important ocean ecosystem and some of the best remaining habitat for the Okinawa dugong. You have the ability and duty to alter the course of this devastating plan, but time is of the essence. We urge you to cancel this project immediately.

Sincerely,


Peter Galvin, Conservation Director
Center for Biological Diversity

Network for Okinawa, and a coalition of hundreds of groups representing millions of people, as listed on the following pages, has called for the cancellation of the base plan and the protection of the dugong and the precious ocean habitat of Okinawa.

Network for Okinawa member groups include:
American Conservative Defense Alliance
American Friends Service Committee
Center for Biological Diversity
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Greenpeace
Institute for Policy Studies
Japan Environmental Lawyers Federation
Just Foreign Policy
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Peace Boat US
Peace Philosophy Centre
United Methodists
Veterans for Peace
Women for Genuine Security

Additional groups supporting this request include:
AfterDowningStreet
Ainu Okinawa wo Kangaeru Kai
AFSC Hawai’i
Altermonde
American Friends Service Committee
AM-Net
Animal Friends Service Committee
Anti-war Network
Association to Protect Northernmost Dugong
Association to Save Tidal Flats in Chiba
B.C. Peace & Global Educators
Big Wildlife
Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases
Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Chiba Prefecture Union for Nature Conservation
Christian Political League, Japan
Circle of Life
Citizens’ Network for Biological Diversity in Okinawa
CODEPINK: Osaka JAPAN
CODEPINK: Women for Peace
Committee Against Heliport Construction
Councils of Trade Unions in Shizuoka Prefecture Chubu Area
DAYS JAPAN Supporters Club Nagoya
DMZ-Hawai’i/Aloha ‘Aina
Elsa Nature Conservancy, Japan
Endangered Species Coalition*
Foreign Policy in Focus
Fund for the Rights of Nature
Fujimae Ramsar Society
Global Exchange
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Green Action Saitama
Greenpeace Japan
Guest House Yaponesia
Hawai’i Okinawa Alliance
Hibakusha Stories
Hokkaido Peace Network
Humane Society International
Iruka & Kujira Action Network
Isumigunsi Nature Preserving Association
Japan Association for Justice and Human Rights, Osaka Prefecture, Hirakata-Katano Branch
Japan Environmental Lawyers’ Federation
Japanese for Peace
Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association
Japan-U.S. Citizens for Okinawa
Japan Wetlands Action Network
Kanagawa Wildlife Support Network
Korea Policy Institute
Kyoto Journal
NAHA Broccoli
National Union of General Workers Abekawa Seishi Trade Union
Nature Conservation Society of Tokachi
Network for Indonesian Democracy, Japan
New York Granny Peace Brigade
Nipponzan Myohoji
Nobel Women Initiative
No Nukes North
Nuchi-du Takara Aichi
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
ODA Reform Network
ODA Reform Network, Kansai
Okinawa Citizen’s Network for Peace
Okinawa Environmental Network
Okinawa Minsyukaigi
Okinawa Reef Check and Research Group
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence
Okinawa YWCA
Pax Christi International
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action Montgomery
Peace Action & Peace Education Fund
Peace Not War Japan
Peace People
People Center of the Tokai
People’s Plan Study Group
Plaintiffs’ Group for Futenma U.S. Airbase Noise Pollution Lawsuit
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Ramsar Network Japan
Rockland Aquanauts Organization, Inc.
Sannbanze Signature Network
Save the Dugong Campaign Center
Scenery of Life IMAGINE WALK
School of the Americas Watch
Sea Turtle Restoration Project
Shimin Gaikou Centre (Citizens’ Diplomatic Centre for the Rights of Indigenous People)
Shizuoka Prefecture Coalition Conference of Trade Unions
Society of Registration to Ramsar Convention of Sanbanze
Soul Flower Union
TAMA Women’s Study Circle
The Centre for Human Rights Education
The Fortress of Dandelions (The No Nukes Association)
The Group for Peaceful Okinawa
The Japan Citizens’ Coalition for the UN International Decade of the World’s Indigenous
Peoples
The Save Awase-higata Association
The Network Earth Village
The Washington Peace Center
The Whaleman Foundation
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice and Peace
U.S. for Okinawa Network
U-Yu-Yu
Vancouver Save Article 9
Violence Against Women in War-Network Japan
Wakaba Article 9
Wetland Forum
Wild Equity Institute
World Peace Now

Fund for the Rights of Nature

*Endangered Species Coalition includes:
1000 Friends of Florida
1000 Friends of Maryland
20/20 Vision Education Fund
A World Institute for Sustainable Humanity
Abalone Alliance Safe Energy Clearinghouse
Acterra
Action for Animals
Alabama Environmental Council
Alaska Wildlife Alliance
Alley Cat Allies
Alliance for Animals
Alliance for the Wild Rockies
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
American Bird Conservancy
American Cetacean Society
American Eagle Foundation
American Hiking Society
American Humane Association
American Indian Center of Central Florida, Inc.
American Lands
American Malacological Society
American Planning Association
American Public Garden Association
American Rivers
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
American Society of Mammalogists
American Wildlands
Anacostia Watershed Society
Andropogon Associates, Inc.
Animal Answers
Animal Defense League of Arizona
Animal Protection Institute
Animal Protection of New Mexico
Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF)
Animal Welfare Institute
Appalachia Science in the Public Interest
Appalachian Mountain Club
Ark Trust, Inc. (Humane Society of the United States)
Arkansas Climate Awareness Project
Arkansas Earth Day Foundation
Arkansas Federation of Garden Clubs
Arkansas Renewable Resources Council
Arkansas Wildlife Federation
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Atlanta Audubon Society
Audubon Society of Central Maryland
Audubon Society of Central New Mexico
Audubon Society of New Hampshire
Audubon Society of Portland
Audubon Society of Rhode Island
Audubon Texas
Augusta Bird Club
Ballona Institute
Bat Conservation International
Bay Area Action/ Acterra
Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition
Berks Conservation League
Berks County Conservancy
Berks County Earth Day Committee
Biodiversity Conservation Alliance
Border Ecology Project
Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society
Buckeye Forest Council
Bucks County Audubon Society
Buffalo Field Campaign
Buffalo Outdoor Center
Butte Environmental Council
California Native Plant Society
California Trout
California Wilderness Coalition
Cambridge Woodfire Pottery
Canada Goose Project
Carribean Conservation Corp'n./Sea Turtle Survival League
Carson Forest Watch
Cascadia Forest Defenders
Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Development of International Law
Center for Native Ecosystems
Center for Plant Conservation
Center for Wildlife Information
Cetacean Society International
Chapman Forest Foundation
Chattooga River Watershed Coalition
Chewonki Foundation
Chicago Zoological Society
Citizen Advocacy Center
Citizens United For Animals, Inc.
CLEAN - Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Coast Range Association
Coastal Plains Institute, Inc.
Columbia (SC) Audubon Society
Community Services, Inc.
Connecticut Audubon Society
Connecticut Citizen Action Group
Connecticut Conservation Assoc.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Conservation Alliance of the Great Plains
Conservation Council for Hawaii
Conservation Fisheries
Conservation Law Foundation
Conservation Northwest
Conservation Science Institute
Cornell Greens
Darby Creek Valley Association
Defenders of Wildlife
Delaware Nature Society
Delaware Riverkeepers Network
Desert Fishes Council
Desomount
Dogwood Alliance
Doris Day Animal League
Earth Action Network
Earth Center in the Delaware Watershed, Inc.
Earth Day Network
Earth Island Institute
Earth Share of Missouri
Earth Works Project
EarthJustice
Earthworks
East Michigan Environmental Action Council
Eastern Cougar Foundation
Eastern Mennonite Missions
ECO ISP
Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Inc.
Ecology Mission Group,Central Baptist Church,Wayne
Endangered Habitats League
Endangered Small Mammal Conservation Fund
Endangered Species Coalition
Endangered Species Program, WI DATCP
Environment America
Environmental Commons
Environmental Council of Rhode Island
Environmental Defense Center
Environmental Investigation Agency
Environmental Law Society, University of Michigan
Environmental Law Society, Vermont Law School
Environmental Protection Information Center, Inc.
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland's Committee on the Environment
Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association
Federated Conservationists of Westchester County
Federation of Fly Fishers
Florida Audubon Society
Florida Endangered Species Network
Focus on Nature
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
Foundation for Global Sustainability
Free The Planet!
Friends of Animals
Friends of Ballona Wetlands
Friends of the Batiquitos Lagoon
Friends of the Bay
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Nescopeck
Friends of the Rivers of Virginia
Friends of the San Juans
Friends of the Sea Otter
Fund for Animals
Fund for Wild Nature
Fyke Nature Association
Garden Club of America
Gasparilla Island Conservation
Gaviota Coast Conservancy
Georgia Native Plant Society
Glen Canyon Institute
Government Accountability Project
Grand Canyon Trust
Gray Panthers
Great Lakes United
Great Plains Restoration Council
Great South Bay Audubon Society
Greenbelt Alliance
Greenpeace
Green-Rock Audubon Society
Gulf Restoration Network
Gulf Specimen Marine Lab
Harris Center for Conservation Education
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Heal the Bay
Heartland All-Species Project
Heartwood
Hells Canyon Preservation Council
Hempen Goods
Herpetologists' League
Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County
Hoosier Environmental Council
Humane Education Network
Humane League of Lancaster County
Humane Society of the U.S.
Idaho Conservation League
In Defense of Animals
Indiana PIRG
International Bird Rescue Research Center
International Fund for Animal Welfare
International Marine Mammal Project, Earth Island Institute
International Primate Protection League
Izaak Walton League of Maine
Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance
Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research
John G. Shedd Aquarium
John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute
Jumping Frog Research Institute
Kalmiopsis Audubon Society
Kentucky Heartwood
Kettle Range Conservation Group
Key Deer Protection Alliance
Keystone Conservation
Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center
Knoah's Ark
Kritter Kountry
Lake Champlain Committee, Inc.
Lake Michigan Federation
Land Council
Land Trust Alliance
LandWatch Monterey County
Larch Company
Last Chance Audubon Society
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters
Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts
Lone Tree Council
Long Island Pine Barrens Society
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Madison Audubon Society
Maine Audubon Society
Mainline Unitarian Church
Marine Fish Conservation Network
Maryland Alliance for Greenway Improvement and Conservation
Maryland Native Plant Society
Maryland United for Peace and Justice
MaryPIRG
Massachusetts Audubon Society
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal
McHenry County Defenders
Michigan Environmental Council
Michigan Humane Society
Michoacan Reforestation Fund
Minnesota Native Plant Society
Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter
Missouri Botanical Garden
Monitor
Montana Audubon Council
Montana Wilderness Association
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
Mount Graham Coalition
Mountaineer Chapter, Trout Unlimited
National Association of People with AIDS
National Audubon Society
National Forest Protection Alliance
National Humane Education Society
National Parks Conservation Association
National Recreation & Parks Assoc
National Wildlife Refuge Association
Native Plant Conservation Campaign
Native Plant Society of Oregon
Native Seeds/ SEARCH
Natural Areas Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nevada Wildlife Federation
New England Wildflower Society
New Jersey Audubon Society
New Jersey Environmental Education Fund
New Jersey Environmental Lobby
New York Rivers United
New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
New York Turtle and Tortoise Society
North Cascades Conservation Council
North Central Washington Audubon Society
North Coast Environmental Center
Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society
Northern Alaska Environmental Center
Northern Arizona University (School of Forestry)
Northern Flint Hills Audubon Society
Northern Jaguar Project
Oak Brook Chapter, Trout Unlimited
Oceana
Ocean Alliance
Ocean State Action
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Orange County People for Animals
Orca Quest
Oregon Natural Desert Association
Oregon Wild
Ouachita Watch League
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations
Pacific Rivers Council
Pandas International
Payne County Audubon
Peace and Justice Center
Pegasus Foundation
Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation
Pennsylvania Audubon
Pennsylvania Trout
Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation
Performing Animals Welfare Society
Philadelphia Botanical Club
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Pilchuck Audubon Society
Pine Creek Valley Watershed Association
Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation
Potomac Valley Audubon Society
Presbyterians for Restoring Creation
Primate Conservation Inc.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Puget Sound Urban Wildlife Photography Club
R Mason Fine Arts
Rainforest Action Network
Raptor Research Founcation
Reading Public Museum
Republicans for Environmental Protection
Restore: The North Woods
Restoring Eden
Riverhead Foundation
Rockbridge Area Conservation Council
Rogue Valley Audubon Society
Rumpf Law Offices
Sacred Earth Network
Salmon Protection and Watershed Network SPAWN
San Bruno Mountain Watch
Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council
Santa Fe Presbyterian Church
Save America's Forests
Save Our Wild Salmon
Save the Manatee Club, Inc.
Save the Species Worldwide
Save-A-Turtle
Sea Turtle Preservation Society
Seattle Audubon Society
Selkirk Conservation Alliance
Shundahai Network
Sierra Club
Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter
Sierra Club, Kaskaskia Group
Sierra Forest Legacy
Siskiyou Project
Sky Island Alliance
Society and Animals Forum
Society for Animal Protective Legislation
Society for Conservation Biology
South Carolina Forest Watch
South Shore Audubon Society
Southern Environmental Center
Southern Maryland Audubon Society
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Southwest Environmental Center
Strong Foundation for Environmental Ethics
Students Conscious of Protecting the Environment
Students for the Environment - University of Delaware
Superior Wilderness Action Network (SWAN)
T&E, Inc.
Tahoma Audubon Society
Target Earth
Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning
Texas Committee on Natural Resources
Texas Parks and Wildlife
The Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve
The Otter Project
Tides Center/ Bioregional Initiative
Timber Wolf Alliance
Tortoise Group
Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School
Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited Virginia
Trout Unlimited, Mountaineer Chapter
Trout Unlimited, Oak Brook Chapter
Tucson Audubon Society
Tuolumne River Preservation Trust
Turner Endangered Species Fund
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth
Unitarian Universalists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (UFETA)
United Church of Christ EcoAction
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Society
Urban Wildlands Group
US Public Interest Research Group
Vermont Audubon Society
Vernal Pool Association
Virginia Forest Watch
Virginia Herpetological Society
Virginians for Wilderness
VOICE for Animals
Voices for Survival, First Presbyterian Church
Washington Cross Audubon Society
Wild Fish Conservancy
Water Watch
Waukesha County Environmental Action League
Webster Groves Nature Study Society
West Michigan Environmental Action Council
Western Lands Project
Western Nebraska Resources Council
Western North Carolina Alliance
Western Wildlife Conservancy
Whale Conservation Institute
Whidbey Environmental Action Network
Whooper Happenings
Wild Earth

Wild Forever
Wild South
WildAgain Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc.
WildEarth Guardians
Wilderness Society
Wilderness Study Group
Wildlands Project
Wildlife Advocacy Project
Wildlife Alive/Earth Island Institute
Wildlife Alliance of Maine
Wildlife Center of Virginia
Wildlife Conservation Society
Wildlife Information Center
Wildlife Rehabilitation of Massachusetts
Wildlife Rescue of the Florida Keys
Wildlife Society
Wisconsin Audubon Council
Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers
Wolf Education and Research Center
Wolf Recovery Foundation
World Foundation for Natural Science
World Society for the Protection of Animals
World Stewardship Institute
Wyncote Audubon
Wyoming Outdoor Council
Xerces Society
Zoo New England
Zoological Society of Philadelphia

 

Photo © Suehiro Nitta