"Planning for the Navy’s electronic warfare testing and training on the Olympic Peninsula has been separated into ground, air, and sea-based activities. Each activity has its separate procedures and separate documents. This has resulted in four separate public comment periods in the last five months of 2014. Not surprisingly, this has caused widespread public confusion and frustration. If you commented back in November on the Environmental Assessment regarding ground based activities in the Olympic National Forest related to the Electronic Warfare Range, your work is not done. There are now two more open comment periods - each on different aspects of the EWR."
Another deadline of January 9 is now open to comment on the Navy accepting delivery of 36 more Growlers.
"A draft EIS is being prepared on the Navy’s addition of 36 EA-18G Growler jets to its fleet of 82 Growlers already at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Scoping meetings were conducted on this in late November and early December. You still have an opportunity to comment on what the scope of that EIS should be, but the deadline of January 9 is rapidly approaching.
The Navy’s main web page for this process is here: http://www.whidbeyeis.com and the electronic comments page, which is probably the best avenue for comments, is here: http://www.whidbeyeis.com/Comment.aspx
You can submit more than one comment. Remember that online comments do not need to disclose a physical address. You do not need to write your address in the blanks in order for your comment to be accepted. Everything we write on the Navy’s online forms will be in the public domain...You will need to disclose an email address, however.
It's also not a bad idea to copy your federal and state elected representatives with your comment letters. Unless the public makes them aware, they may not do anything about it.
You should add an objection that the ground based activities, covered in the Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range EA, should not have been segmented from this draft EIS. Please consider suggesting in your letter that the impacts of those activities, and the impacts on the areas that the 36 new EA-18Gs will be flying over, as well as the existing 82 Growler jets, should be covered in this EIS. These scoping comments we're writing are meant to guide the Navy in developing the Draft EIS. If they do not answer our concerns when the DEIS is published, then we will have the chance to comment on that before it's finalized, and if they still do not address our concerns there will be a documented public record for a court case.
Nothing has been provided to the public on impacts from fuel dumping over water, our communities, or the Olympic National Forest or Olympic National Park. The Navy admits that it does occur, primarily over the area to the west of the runways at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, but that it occurs at 8,000 feet and therefore the fuel "vaporizes before it reaches the surface." Jet fuel is full of heavy metals and other toxic compounds, and, news flash, gravity is the law. Perhaps the solvents may vaporize, but no information exists on the effects of these toxic compounds that must eventually come down to the surface. We have also not been told anything about the type of fuel used in Growler jets. Another question to ask is: Has independent research been conducted, on effects of jet fuel emissions or fuel dumping over the National Forest and National Park, or over communities near where fuel is dumped?
Deadline February 2 is also open: A “Supplemental Draft,” to the January 2014 EIS called “Northwest Training and Testing Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement” was recently announced. This is for sea-based activity. The changes in the Supplemental Draft Include:
* Expansion of sonar and explosive activities in the “training zone” to include the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the waters off Indian Island, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, which consists of 2,408 square nautical miles of Olympic Peninsula coastline.
* Marine mammal kills (The Navy estimates thousands of marine mammals would be killed or harmed.)
* Maritime effects
* Hood Canal Bridge Effects (The Navy predicts more and longer bridge closings at Hood Canal, which will not be announced until the last minute due to “national security.”
* More Private vessel boardings, called “visits”
* Notices to Move (Fishermen will be given one hour’s notice to vacate an area of Naval activity, and must abandon deployed fishing gear such as in-water nets or pots.)
The main web page for this EIS is here: http://nwtteis.com and the written comment page with public meetings schedule is here: http://nwtteis.com/GetInvolved/ReviewoftheSupplementDraftEISOEIS.aspx
Remember, this deadline is February 2.
As always, thank you for caring, for forwarding this to others you think may be interested, and for submitting your comments. 3,000 public comments in November really got the government's attention, and it's still possible to do the same now with the Navy. Together we can do it. Let those comments pour in, and send copies to your elected representatives."