Essayist, poet and conservationist Tim McNulty wrote a wonderful “Letter to America” about the hope of the Elwha dam removal. Thanks to Tim and Terrain.org for their efforts to protect, respect and conserve our Olympic Peninsula.
The Olympic Forest Coalition and the West Coast Action Alliance submitted comments on March 22, objecting to the Navy’s Environmental Assessment for the Naval Special Operations EA-EV21.AW, Training in Washington State Parks. The Navy’s EA is inadequate and, if training is allowed to go forward as presented, represents serious risk to endangered species and state park users. The Navy should withdraw the EA, conduct a proper analysis and present an Environmental Impact Statement for public comment and review.
OFCO Board Member Karen Sullivan, co-founder of the West Coast Action Alliance (WCAA), led OFCO advocacy to stop a bill that would have turned land use control and incompatibility decision-making authority over to the military, on public and private lands that not only are adjacent to military bases but also throughout the state. Sullivan and others said, “By outlawing all land uses that may be incompatible with present or future missions of United States military installations, the bill presents an ‘inverse condemnation’ of property, where the government takes property without compensating for it. This bill violates Article 1, Section 18, of the Washington State Constitution. It would have enormous consequences for Washington and for conservation.” The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kristine Reeves, who is also the DOD-paid executive director of the Washington Military Alliance, did not pass. A companion Senate bill also failed. Sullivan, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, has led WCAA and OFCO’s work to ensure that military operations on the Olympic Peninsula and associated marine waters do not further endanger species like the Marbled Murrelet, orcas and salmon.
Karen was recently featured in a movie about the impacts of the Navy Growler jets in our area, Plane Truths. WCAA and OFCO are encouraging you also to comment on an open EA allowing the Navy to expand military training to 65 Washington state parks and 265 miles of shoreline, much of which is private land. Comments are due March 23; see WCAA model comment letter and how to comment. See Karen’s Op Ed in The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader on the plan.
Senator Cantwell Gets Interior Secretary Zinke’s Assurances
Washington Is Low Value for Drilling Program
Razor clam digging is one of the popular recreational
activities on the coast that would be threatened
by an oil spill off the Washington coast. ~Surfrider.org
The Olympic Forest Coalition submitted a comment opposing the Administration’s plan to overturn the offshore drilling protections in place. The Plan included one location in the Washington/Oregon planning region. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the Plan would open 90% of the national continental shelf to drilling, including the Pacific Northwest.
Governor Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz submitted opposition comments. Senator Maria Cantwell requested an extension of the comment period.
The Surfrider Foundation opposed the drilling program for the nation and led efforts to oppose the program because of its potential impacts on important habitats and recreational uses. The Surfrider Foundation’s 2015 Recreational Use Study found that the Washington coast attracted 4.1 million trips in a single year, resulting in $481 million from direct expenditures to our state’s coastal economy.
Senator Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, pressed Interior Secretary Zinke this week on the offshore oil drilling program. Mr. Zinke said that the West Coast does not have any significant resources. Still at risk are many coastal resources in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
From the West Coast Action Alliance:
The Navy has opened for comment an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Special Operations in which Navy SEALs stage covert small-team landings via mini-subs and small boats, with up to 20 personnel concealing themselves ashore for up to 72 hours, plus mock gun battles with paintballs, called “direct actions.” Although the Navy owns 46 miles of shoreline in the Pacific Northwest and more than 151,000 acres of land here, this combat training will occur in our communities, boat marinas, 65+ state parks, public beaches, and on some private lands in Puget Sound and on the outer coast. It’s possible that this training may entail climbing some of the steep glacial till cliff faces around Port Townsend, which local residents and property owners know are already dangerously eroding. One of the places selected for mock gun battles with paintballs includes the Memorial Peace Park atop the bluffs at Fort Worden, which some residents interpret as a stick in the eye, not to mention being an assault on a place that has historic, cultural and spiritual value.
And here is how you can submit official comments: Click here.
Here’s a map of training sites. Click to enlarge. Purple = combat training. Most of these are civilian-populated areas with ecologically sensitive shorelines.