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  • Whales and Mitsubishi

    B Koth (
    Tue, 18 Mar 1997 16:31:56 -0600


    Love your site and check in regularly, but didn't register because I am not
    a teacher and didn't want to mess up your data base. My question ---

    I check in on the migration patterns for several species, but most often the
    gray whales along the California coast. My partner and I actually saw them
    at Point Reyes Nat'l Seashore a few weeks ago --- stunning! However, the
    breeding grounds of the whales are threatened by Mitsubishi's proposed salt
    factory in the San Ignacio Lagoon. A brief description of this threat is
    summarized below (from the net; sorry for format errors)and related links
    can be found at

    My question is: do students need to know this? Could this be another
    teaching tool? All the activists working on this out there could sure use
    informed schoolchildren, and I don't think it hurts for students to learn
    how corporate activity without public involvement can destroy resource
    sustainability. Could the students get information on writing to the
    various actors (see list below) if they are concerned? My bottom line is,
    if appropriate, I sure would like to see a mention at minimum, a discussion
    if possible, of this on "Journey North."

    My other question is can you provide an email address for contacting Laura
    Gorodezky, your expert, at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary? I
    am surious how NOAA or whoever is working on this.

    Your consideration of this suggestion is appreciated. Hope to hear from you
    soon. Keep up the great work, and thanks.

    Barb Koth

    "Mitsubishi Project to Sacrifice Gray Whales for Profits.

    The Eastern Pacific gray whale holds great significance in the fight for
    endangered species preservation as a symbol of success. Once hunted to
    near extinction by commercial whalers, gray whale populations are only
    now regenerating to their original numbers. This recovery is a result of
    five decades of protective stewardship and joint cooperation by US,
    Mexican and Canadian groups and individuals. While many people on the
    pacific coast refer to this species as the "California" gray, these
    migratory whales are in fact born in the Mexican lagoons of the Baja
    Peninsula. It is here where the gray whale species is again threatened
    with potential extinction in a plan to destroy the most fertile of its'
    Mitsubishi Corporation and Mexican government owned Exportadora de Sal
    (ES), a salt export company of which Mitsubishi owns 49%, are
    threatening to expand salt mining operations in the Vezcaino Desert
    Reserve, part of the UN's Biosphere Reserve Program. Specifically this
    project would be ecologically devastating to the San Ignacio Lagoon area
    , the most pristine of four bays where migrating gray whales spend their
    winter months.

    The Mitsubishi/ES project would directly sacrifice 21,000 acres of
    protected land surrounding the lagoon for an industrial complex. Plans
    call for the building of a mile long pier, located 12 miles from mouth
    of the lagoon, to facilitate a rotating flotilla of ocean going ships.
    Damage to this pier from winter storms and summer hurricanes could
    necessitate the dredging of the lagoon itself in order to accommodate
    ship traffic. Operation of the saltworks will demand the nonstop pumping
    of sea water from the lagoon at the rate of 6,600 gallons per second,
    adversely lowering the lagoon's temperature and salinity. The
    surrounding network of roads needed to service the saltworks would, by
    the company's own admission, have a permanent physical impact on 86,000
    acres of the Reserve.

    Temporary Stay of Execution
    The National Ecology Institute of Mexico recently halted this project by
    rejecting the EIA submitted by ES. The rejection cited the saltworks'
    incompatibility with the biosphere reserve and its proximity to the
    lagoon. This temporary victory is largely a result of pressure from the
    Mexican environmental organization Grupo de los Cien (Group of 100).
    Juan Ignacio Bremer, director of ES and coincidentally Mexico's
    Secretary of Commerce, has filed an appeal with the Mexican government
    regarding this decision. This issue will be heavily influenced, if not
    decided, by international public opinion. We must take action! This
    issue is crucial for gray whale protection as well as a critical test
    for the working partnership between the Mexican and US environmental
    communities. The decision making powers in Mexico need to hear from you.
    Don't let your silence send a counterproductive message!"

    Gray Whales
    Go to IMMP table of contents.

    Then there are some names and addresses for contact, like the President of
    Mexico, Ambassador to Mexico, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mexican Minister for
    Environment... --------------------------------------------------
    Barbara A. Koth
    1924 Vermilion Road
    Duluth, MN 55803 USA
    (218) 724-7260 phone and fax

    "If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you
    have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work
    - anonymous Aboriginal woman