This is from our friends on the peninsula. They also need help keeping the BAD navy NEIGHBOR IN BLUE from taking over one yet one more of the best places in the country! Help to stop the ravaging of the Olympic Forest by this group of modern day despoilers. The Growlers know no boundaries. They bring pain and suffering wherever they touch and fly over our country’s finest lands, from the Coupeville OLF to Forks!
Stop the marauders before it’s too late!
HELP SILENCE THE GROWLERS!
Subject: Update on Navy’s electronic warfare training plans for the Olympic Peninsula
If you live out of the area and are wondering what we’re all so spun up about protecting, this video might help: http://vimeo.com/108785446
The issue boils down to: should the Forest Service issue a permit to the Navy to use roads in the Olympic National Forest to run their electronic radiation-emitting truck-and-trailer combinations, which would entail numerous unpredicted closures and chronically irradiated vegetation and wildlife, and possibly some chronically irradiated people who live or work near the fixed tower, for decades to come? The science being advanced by the Navy is shakier than the San Andreas fault.
For example, the Navy’s most scientific documents don’t include the effects of jet noise in the area they want to use. The scanty biological information they’re using is at least 5 years old and doesn’t include climate change or species that are currently not endangered or threatened with extinction. The definition of “no significant impact” is that they won’t cause a species to go extinct throughout its range, which is a pretty low threshold. We don’t know what effect “airborne and surface active jamming” of all detected electronic signals in an area will have on navigation, firefighting, search and rescue, police or 911 dispatch signals. We don’t know what effects decades of jet noise for “up to 16 hours a day” will have on the ecosystem, of which humans are a part. And the Navy confirmed that the jets will be flying over our communities, not over the Strait. The more the public opposes this, the more compelling it will be for the Forest Service to not rubber-stamp the permit.
Furthermore, the law says that the Forest Service cannot rely on data from other agencies to make decisions on how it will manage its land. They must do their own research and investigation. And we need to know exactly what that research says. Right now we know nothing except reports from independent researchers who tend to say radiation like that, especially over many years, can’t be good.
There will be a public meeting at City Hall in Port Angeles on Thursday, November 6 from 6 to 8 PM, with a protest rally to be held outside starting at 5. I’m told that the Navy, not the Forest Service, will be running the meeting. More meetings are announced but not yet scheduled, at Friday Harbor and Port Townsend.
Here is something you should know about the public meeting. I learned today that the Navy has similar electronic warfare takeovers of public land going in other areas, and public meetings there have been equally unsatisfactory to ours so far. Comments are typically limited to three minutes, after which they may interrupt you and force you to stop. UNLESS YOU ASK A QUESTION at the end of your comments, the only reply you will get is “Duly noted.” Then you have to step out of line to let the next person speak. Your comments will become part of the public record, but if you do not ask a question, they do not have to respond to you. So ask a good question, and if you have not yet commented in a letter, please consider writing one to email@example.com.
The venue for the Port Angeles meeting may not have enough seats for everyone, and people who arrive late might not be admitted. I was told that in California during these meetings, the Navy has been stationing its contractors and other personnel outside in the parking lot so that they can talk to the people who can’t get in. These personnel might listen but they will not record or “duly note” your comments. It’s as good as throwing them away. So if you cannot get in, be sure to send in your comments to the official recorder at: firstname.lastname@example.org. And ask questions.
Due to the public outcry, the comment period has been extended until November 28. You can send more than one comment letter if you want, but they should be on different aspects of the project. Send comments to: gtwahl.fs.fed.us. They will be uploaded onto the Forest Service’s Reading Room web site at: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/ReadingRoom?List-size=25&Project=42759&List-page=11 Currently there are nearly 1900 comments, and more are needed.
San Juan Islanders, you too are looking at significantly increased jet traffic in your skies. The Navy is adding 36 Growler jets to the fleet at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, which according to their proposed amended Environmental Impact Statement could bring the grand total of Growlers stationed there to 118. This does not include any aircraft that may or may not come from the current training ground at Mountain Home, Idaho. We just don’t know. But the Navy representatives told people at the Forks meeting on October 14 that the entire electronic warfare training program is being moved from Mountain Home to train at the Olympic National Forest. There is nothing wrong with Mountain Home except that it’s an Air Force Base, and this is the Navy.
I mentioned in the other email that there is a new Facebook page that serves as a gathering place for information, because it has been so hard to find…We share what we know as we learn it. It’s called “Protect Olympic Peninsula.” Nearly 2,000 people have liked or are following it, which is encouraging, because it’s the main way right now, of passing information back and forth to interested parties. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a bunch of Navy pilots have found the page, and are making sarcastic and sometimes abusive comments…This has to stop. It has had an intimidating effect on people wanting to comment or post information. We have enough difficulty trying to understand the issue amidst the scarcity of reliable information, without being called “morons,” or lectured or told the Navy doesn’t need to ask permission to put their mobile emitters on public land.
And if you needed more fuel for remarks, consider this: Fully 24% of per capita income in Jefferson County (and there are probably similar numbers for Clallam County) is “attributable to the proximity of protected public lands. According to Headwaters Economics, the proximity and quality of these lands influences business and individual relocation decisions and supports a robust service sector catering to tourists and residents alike.”
So write comments. Ask the hard questions. Write letters to our congressional representatives. Watch for meeting announcements on the Facebook page, and attend them. And maybe if we all work together, we can have a say, and see our public lands remain public.