This week the WCAA sent a formal memorandum, along with a letter from UNESCO, to the U.S. Navy senior command and to federal, state and local elected officials in Northern California, Oregon and Washington, and to other interested parties, about the U.S. Navy’s current course of action in issuing a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Northwest Testing and Training, in an unlawful manner. The area covered in this Final EIS extends from Northern California to Alaska, a huge area of concern.
Specifically, the Final EIS is unlawful and fatally flawed for a number of significant reasons, listed briefly here and explained in detail further in the memorandum:
Failure to provide reasonable notice to the public.
Failure to provide adequate comment process.
Failure to address functionally connected activities and their cumulative impacts.
Failure to adequately consider impacts to Olympic National Park’s World Heritage designation.
Failure to wait until completion of Final EIS and Record of Decision before initiating actions.
Ethical and legal questions about the Navy’s conduct abound: hidden notices, comment periods that have been shortened or wholly eliminated, and last-minute publication of key documents coupled with total disregard for NEPA’s prohibitions on segmentation present a clear and present danger that the Navy is hastily proceeding with plans regardless and in defiance of federally mandated processes.
Reasonable concerns and objections presented by the public and allied organizations continue to be utterly disregarded, and this controversy intensifies by the day. For example, Congressman Derek Kilmer requested several months ago that the Navy undertake a “neutral” sound study on jet noise in Olympic National Park, under the auspices of the Federal Interagency Committee on Aviation Noise (FICAN). The Navy failed to do so. Instead, it reconstituted an older study using data that applied to Prowler jets, which are no longer being flown, to justify no significant impacts on the soundscapes of Olympic National Park, and inserted that in the Final EIS.
We believe that it is reasonable and right for citizens to ask our federal government to follow its own policies and laws; we also believe that when multiple requests to an agency from federal and state officials, tribes, private organizations and individuals are repeatedly ignored, then it is time for other state, federal, tribal and local organizations as well as private groups and individuals to be apprised of the situation.