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Washington

Patty Murray - Mattis - Water Contamination

Last week, Senator Patty Murray brought up groundwater contamination in WA to United States Secretary of Defense Mattis during a Senate hearing:

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Fraudulent Posting on Seattle News-Times NOT by Ken Pickard

Island County Health Officials to be Investigated by State

NEWS RELEASE NOV 11, 2016

Contact: Ken Pickard 250-333-8667 or 360-632-9266

Maryon Attwood, 360-678-1414

citizensoftheebeysreserve2@gmail.com

STATE TO INVESTIGATE COMPLAINT AGAINST ISLAND COUNTY HEALTH OFFICIALS

Health Harms from Navy Jet Noise Ignored

The Washington State Board of Health agreed by unanimous vote at its November 9 meeting, to investigate a complaint filed by citizen organizations against two Island County health officials. The complaint, filed by Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) and Island Concerned Citizens (ICC) on October 31, charges the health officer and the administrative officer of the Island County Board of Health with failing in their duties to obey and enforce public health laws aimed at protecting citizens from health harms.

The health risks and harms identified in the complaint are caused by controversial low-flying Navy EA18G Growler Jets that expose people in homes, schools, parks and places of business to hazardous noise.  Navy Growler noise, according to the complaint, causes a host of health harms and exceeds maximum community levels established by the State of Washington, the EPA, the Occupational and Health Administration (OSHA), and the World Health Organization.

The complaint charges Dr. Brad Thomas, Island County Health Officer with refusing to take any action to warn citizens about the risk of health harms caused by controversial low-flying Navy EA18G Growler Jets.  The complaint also alleges that Island County Public Health Director Keith Higman was instrumental in the Island County Health Board’s passage of a resolution that contradicts state law and is aimed at blocking efforts to warn citizens about harms from Navy jet noise. Higman serves as the county health board’s administrative officer.

“We turned to the state because Island County’s public health officials have placed their personal political views and self-interest above the health needs of the community,” said Ken Pickard, President of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER).  “They only see Navy dollars, which they appear to value over the health of the citizens they are supposed to serve and protect,” he said.

“We expect a visit by those charged with investigating this complaint and we will facilitate interviews with noise victims and our health experts,” said COER member Maryon Attwood.  “What has been allowed to happen on Whidbey Island is an outrage,” she added.  “This is the US Navy harming the people they are supposed to protect, and doing so with the blessing and encouragement of a politicized Local Board of Health.”

Residents from across Whidbey Island had asked the Island County Health Board and its Health Officer in April to post warning signs in hazardous noise areas where thousands of annual low-level training flights expose people to toxic noise.  Residents provided the County Health Board and the Navy with declarations of patients and medical professionals attesting to the on-going harms suffered by those exposed to toxic Growler noise. Also provided, was science-based data and research addressing the adverse health impacts of noise, including impaired childhood learning and development.

According to the complaint, Dr. Brad Thomas initially expressed support for posting warning signs before being threatened with non-renewal of his contract by Island County Health Board Chairperson Jill Johnson.  Jill Johnson, who is also an Island County Commissioner, supported the increase in Grower operations, including those taking place over central Whidbey Island where a noted medical expert claims a noise-induced “medical emergency” now exists.

By a 3 to 2 vote, the Island County Health Board passed a surprise resolution, approved in advance by Keith Higman that sought to absolve board members of any responsibility to address health threats or harms associated with Navy jet noise.  The resolution was introduced board chairperson and Island County Commissioner, Jill Johnson and seconded by board member and Island County Commissioner, Richard Hannold.  Hannold previously worked on Growler jets for a Navy contractor.

“The hostile resolution approved by Keith Higman ignores overwhelming scientific and medical evidence of noise induced health harms,” said Marianne Brabanski, MS, a retired audiologist and COER Board Member. “It reflects the narrow-minded thinking of a few public officials acting as extensions of the Navy.  All are politicians, and none have medical training,” she added.

The October 31 complaint to the Washington State Board of Health follows a separate complaint filed by citizens against the five board members of the Island County Board of Health filed with the Washington Secretary of Health on August 22.  The Secretary of Health has yet to respond to the complaint.

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Copies of Complaints can be viewed on COER’s website HERE.

Island Concerned Citizens website is http://www.concernedislandcitizens.org/

Navy Training Secretly on Washington Roads

Road in Olympic Peninsula – by Sam Beebe – edited for size

You know that electromagnetic training that people are concerned about the Navy using without permission on public Washington land?

It seems they’ve been doing it already.

Dahr Jamail at Truthout has been reporting and investigating the issue of the Navy’s overreach in land acquisition, training, and interactions with the public. In this new article, he states:

“Without public notification of any kind, the US Navy has secretly been conducting electromagnetic warfare testing and training on public roads in western Washington State for more than five years.

An email thread between the Navy and the US Forest Service between 2010 and 2012, recently obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Oregon-based author and activist Carol Van Strum in November 2014, revealed that the Navy has likely been driving mobile electromagnetic warfare emitters and conducting electromagnetic warfare training in the Olympic National Forest and on public roads on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula since 2010.”

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Our DNR Commissioner, Dan Goldmark.

Our DNR Commissioner, Peter Goldmark.

An Important Update:

We received the following from Janet Marx. Please take a minute to email Peter Goldmark and thank him for his courageous stand to protect our beautiful peninsula from being turned into an Electronic Warfare Range by the Navy.

from Janet:


Yesterday I attended a meeting with a representative of DNR. Remember DNR has refused Navy access for EWR on their property. Evidently Peter Goldmark the DNR Commissioner is under a lot of pressure from the Dept. of Defense to change his mind. It would help if he knew he had support from the local communities. Could you send out the message asking your contacts to let Peter Goldmark know we appreciate his decision and the protection of our homeland?

 

Peter Goldmark

Commissioner of Public Lands

1111 Washington St. SE

Olympia, WA 98504

or

Peter.goldmark@dnr.wa.gov

 

“Necessary for national security” is also what is being communicated to the environmental groups such as the National Parks Conservation Association—which may help explain why these groups have not taken a strong stand against the Navy plan.

The Navy’s claim of “necessary for national security” must be challenged, and rigorously.

Please recall that in public meetings the Navy was asked :

Why was the Olympic Peninsula selected for a range… did they need this terrain to train for ISIS?

The Commander in charge of training the pilots at the Whidbey Naval Base, Commander Brian Danielson, responds with: NO, when it comes to electronic warfare training, the terrain doesn’t matter. They can train anywhere. The Olympic Peninsula was chosen for “efficiency”.

When it was discovered that the Navy’s current training range (in Idaho) is only a 20-minute commute for the pilots, their rationale of “saving money on gas” and “keeping their pilots closer to home” appeared ludicrous. The Navy quickly changed their public statements, stating in the local newspaper that their “mission” requires using the terrain that is here.

However, last year when asked what they would do if the Forest Service permit was NOT granted? Navy officials shrug their shoulders and say they would just “train elsewhere” and use simulators:

As these videos reveal, the Navy’s claim that establishing an Electronic Warfare Range here is critical to their “mission” or “necessary for national security” is simply not true.

Please thank Peter Goldman. He is the only one of our public servants who has had the courage and clarity to say NO, NOT HERE. Request that he stand strong in face of the Dept. of Defense’s pressure. Encourage your contacts to write him as well.

Thank you.