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Navy wants to conduct electronic warfare training in extensive area of Olympic Peninsula's wildlife habitat & tourist/sportsman recreation areas

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  • Navy wants to conduct electronic warfare training in extensive area of Olympic Peninsula's wildlife habitat & tourist/sportsman recreation areas

    Map of proposed locations by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
    No people, large animals to be harmed in electronic warfare training, Navy says — but it has its risks

    By Paul Gottlieb
    Peninsula Daily News

    Fifteen minutes.

    That's the estimate of time it could take for “the liquid tissue” of the eye to be damaged by close proximity to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by three electronic warfare trucks the Navy wants to deploy in Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties, Navy official Jerry Sodano said Friday.

    Dean Millett, district ranger for the Pacific District of the Olympic National Forest, had issued a draft notice of a decision earlier this month in which he had agreed with the Navy's finding of no significant impact, clearing the way for a Forest Service special permit.

    He canceled the decision Thursday and reopened public comment because of “renewed interest . . . from members of the public who were unaware of the proposal,” notice of which was not published in North Olympic Peninsula newspapers.


    Mike Welding, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island spokesman, said last week that any antennas emitting electromagnetic energy carry some radiation.

    “As a general answer, if someone is in the exclusion area for more than 15 minutes, that's a ballpark estimate for when there would be some concern for potential to injure, to receive burns,” he said.

    The trucks, equipped with antennas mounted 14 feet off the ground, would be targeted by aircraft flying 90 miles off the coast.

    “The pilot has to achieve an ID of the emitter, locate it and simulate a 'harm shoot,'” Sodano said.

    Navy officials did not know the impact of the emissions on small animals.

    “Human tissue is directly susceptible to shock or burns” similar to those caused by a microwave oven “when metallic objects,which have absorbed high electromagnetic radiation, are touched,” according to the environmental assessment....
    For war games next year, Navy wants to post trucks with electromagnetic radiation equipment on West End

    By Paul Gottlieb
    Peninsula Daily News


    Greg Wahl, project lead and an environmental coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service, has issued a finding of no significant impact for the project for its Forest Service permit.

    That eliminates the need for an environmental impact statement....
    USFS & the Navy should not be able to eliminate the need for an EIS! The collateral damage to wildlife as their tissues liquify is simply unacceptable in a rich rainforest ecosystem on public land that abuts Olympic National Park. I do not personally trust USFS and the Navy to determine what is a safe distance from targets on land when their valued pilots will be 90 miles away and the operations center is on an island on the other side of the Peninsula. (And what about aircraft flying between the Navy planes and their land targets?) I also have concerns about the safety of Navy personnel who will be forced to be in the vicinity of the targets to warn off tourists and hunters.

    Comments accepted through Oct. 10th:
    Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range Environmental Assessment #42759
    Commenting on This Project

    Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration. Anonymous comments and comments submitted after the close of the final designated comment period will not provide the commenter standing for administrative review.

    The Forest Service values public participation. Communications from the public regarding this project, including commenter’s names and contact information, will become part of the public record.
    Submitting Comments
    If you wish to submit a comment, please send it to:

    Gregory Wahl
    Olympic National Forest All Units
    437 Tillicum Lane , Forks, WA, 98331

    Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

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