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Kilmer’s Wild Olympics Bill to Protect the Environment & Grow Jobs Passes House!

Dear Wild Olympics Supporter,

Because of thousands like you taking actions large and small, Feb. 12, 2020 was a landmark day for the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Due to Representative Kilmer’s efforts to champion and shepherd our bill through the legislative process, it passed in the House with bipartisan support as a part of H.R. 2546, the “Protecting America’s Wilderness Act.” The act would protect nearly 1.4 million acres of wilderness in California, Colorado and Washington.

We want to take this moment to thank you and to let you know there is more work to be done to see these protections pass through the Senate.

Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Senator Patty Murray have been tireless champions in this effort and we hope you will take a moment to email or tweet a message of thanks and support today.

It is important that we recognize and thank our Champions for their work to date and encourage them to keep up the fight.

Like, Share or Retweet Sen. Murray & Rep. Kilmer‘s posts on Twitter and Facebook announcing the Wild Olympics bill passage or send a note of thanks through their websites: Rep. Kilmer, Sen. Murray.

This is truly wonderful news and a testament to all of your hard work and support, and to the leadership of both Rep. Kilmer and Sen. Murray. Their landmark Wild Olympics legislation would permanently protect the Olympic Peninsula’s ancient forests, free-flowing rivers and salmon streams for future generations. It would protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness, and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers. If enacted, the legislation would designate the first new wilderness on Olympic National Forest in three decades and the first-ever protected Wild and Scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

Together, with your help, we will continue to work hard to secure permanent protections for the ancient forests, salmon streams and wild rivers of the Olympic Peninsula.

Thank you for all you do for the Wild Olympics,

Connie Gallant
Chair, Wild Olympics Campaign
Quilcene, WA
www.WildOlympics.org

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Wild Olympics Campaign, P.O. Box 214, Quilcene, WA 98376

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OFCO Needs Your Support for 2020

Another year, and OFCO is here—continuing with your help—to fight the battles that have engaged us in 2019. Our heartfelt thanks go to you for staying with our small, but mighty, organization as together we soldier on.

OFCO—along with colleagues across the land—work under the dark cloud of a national administration that is indifferent and openly hostile, to protecting public lands, along with the plants and animals that call them home. As we work and hope for favorable policy changes, OFCO continues to stand guard over our cherished Peninsula, pushing the federal and state agencies to protect our forests, rivers and waterways.

And we won’t give up or back down. Our sacred trust as human beings is to protect and restore ecological treasures for future generations. Your donation this season will help us continue our protection efforts for the Olympic Peninsula. Click here to read our annual appeal letter.

To donate now, please click here. Thank you!

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Congress to Navy: Monitor, report noise from Growler jets over Whidbey Island

By Joel Connelly, SeattlePI
Published 2:41 pm PST, Tuesday, December 10, 2019 (copied with permission)

Two Boeing EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft conduct a test flight. (Boeing)

The U.S. Navy will be required to monitor and report noise levels made by EA-18G Growler jets at Naval Air Station Whidbey and the Navy Outlying Field Coupeville, according to language in a National Defense Authorization Act set to pass Congress.

The bill’s language also requires that the Secretary of the Navy work with the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service on a monitoring plan for the Olympic Peninsula. Growler jets currently make 2,300 flights a year over Olympic National Park, a figure due to climb to 5,000 annual flights.

“Noise from Growler training has caused much concern in local communities,” Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said in a statement. “Publicly available real time monitoring of Whidbey Island and Olympic National Park will provide transparency and a basis for an accurate discussion on the impacts of the increased flight activity between the Navy, the state and communities involved. I’m pleased to see this provision included in the final defense package and I encourage Congress to support its passage.”

RELATED: The Navy’s Growler jets bring noise to a quiet place: Olympic National Park

The Navy recently approved adding 36 Growlers to its existing 82-plane fleet. The big, noisy jet practice carrier landings at Outlying Field Coupeville, and fly over Olympic Park en route to Olympic Military Operations Areas for electronic warfare training on the western peninsula.

NAS Whidbey has long advertised itself with a sign reading “THE SOUND OF FREEDOM” along S.R. 20 north of Oak Harbor. The sound of less-noisy Prowler jets caused little controversy. But arrival of the growlers has produced a protest movement that has drawn hundreds to meetings in the auditorium at Coupeville High School.

The Navy has gone ahead with its plans, even blowing off critical questions from U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Conservation groups are worried , especially at a return flight path that takes Growler jets over the heart of Olympic National Park, the Dungeness Wilderness Area in Olympic National Forest, and Port Townsend. The Navy jets also fly over another popular unit of the National Park System, the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island.

RELATED: Wash. AG Ferguson sues Navy over noisy Growler jets at Whidbey

“Gosh, people in this area are strongly pro-Navy, but the Navy should recognize this is a two way street: Olympic is designated a wilderness park, it should stay like that,” former Gov. Dan Evans, 94, said recently. As a U.S. Senator, Evans wrote legislation that protects 96 percent of the national park as wilderness.

Rep. Rick Larsen, who put noise monitoring into a House version of the authorization bill, said: “I’m happy the final bill includes real-time noise monitoring language to require the Navy to mitigate the effects of military aircraft noise on private residences, schools and hospitals.”

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Wild Olympics Bill Passes House Committee

QUILCENE, Wash. (December 5, 2019) – The Wild Olympics Coalition today cheered the passage of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (H.R. 2642) out of the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee. The legislation was introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) in May, and would permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries—a total of 464 river miles—as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

L t R: Sen. Murray, Rep. Kilmer, Tim McNulty

Designed through extensive community input to protect ancient forests and clean water and to enhance outdoor recreation, the legislation would designate the first new wilderness in the Olympic National Forest in nearly three decades and the first-ever protected wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula. Click to see the press release and to see a video of supporters.

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Marbled Murrelet Coalition Comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife on Final EIS for Long-Term Conservation Strategy

The Coalition, including OFCO, submitted its comment on the Final Environmental Impact Statement to the USFWS on the Marbled Murrelet Long-Term Conservation Strategy. The Service will be issuing a Biological Opinion and a Record of Decision immediately accepting the Washington Dept. of Natural Resources’ (DNR) preferred alternative (Alternative H). The Service will issue an incidental take permit based on Alternative H, which actually allows for “take” of murrelet habitat. The Washington Board of Natural Resources (BNR) is expected to accept the permit at its December 2019 meeting. Murrelet habitat may be harvested as early as next harvest season.

The Coalition has taken the position that Alternative H does not meet the needs of the murrelet, and that more habitat must be conserved to ensure that the species is not extirpated in Washington. Dr. Kara Whittaker, murrelet biologist with the Washington Forest Law Center, has provided scientific analysis for the Coalition. The Coalition is advocating for more conservation to protect habitat through the DNR advisory group “Solutions Table,” with the BNR, and with all other options to win more habitat for the Marbled Murrelet.

Marbled Murrelet egg in nest ~ USFS