Sunday December 8, 2013
Navy Plans to Take Over Oregon Coast Airspace for Military OperationsLetter to the Salem-News.com Editor by Marie Gargano
The Navy needs to rethink and abandon large parts of this entire proposal. The potential effects of new and increased military activity off the coast of Oregon could result in a general degradation of the environment, be fatal to wildlife and detrimental to the human quality of life.
(DEPOE BAY, Ore.) - I went to the US Navy’s hearing last Friday night in Newport. What an "eye opener"!!!
I was told by one of the Navy’s representatives that the Navy wants to take over the two training areas currently used by the Oregon Air National Guard. This includes the entire coastal air space and coastal waters of Oregon.
The hearing was part of their “public outreach”; strangely only one hearing in the entire state of Oregon. I was told the Navy published a small notification of the hearing in a Lincoln County newspaper and no other newspaper in Oregon.
As evidenced from their public comments, most people learned of the hearing at most 2-3 days in advance. As a result, only about 40 people attended. Six people made public comments for the official record. There was no question and answer period. Few knew about the Navy’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement website: nwtrangecomplexeis.com/EIS.aspx.
PLEASE go to the National Resources Defense Council website to read about the mid-frequency sonar effect on whales and other marine mammals; it causes their eardrums to rupture and they die. The NRDC sued the Navy over this in California and got a partial victory. Of course, the Navy talked about all they will do to protect marine life; the NRDC partial court victory is making them do it!!! Not optional.
OSU Professor Bruce Mate told me at the hearing there isn’t a 12-mile offshore limit to the Navy’s proposal. In fact, one of the Navy personnel said that if they need to do shallow water training, their proposal allows them to do it.
Here’s the deal..... The Navy wants to take over the Oregon Air National Guard areas off the entire coast of Oregon in order to expand the Navy's training activities, including mine fields (YES, I said mine fields!!), predator drones, artillery shelling practice, submarine exercises including munitions and their associated debris. These are what I picked up from other speakers. Who knows what else is in the DEIS????
Included in the Navy's handout for their preferred proposal:
EA-18G Growler aircraft.... which flies at Mach 1.6, exceeding the "sound barrier". Will the coast be subjected to sonic booms if the Navy gets what they want?
Guided missile submarines
P-8 Multimission Maritime aircraft
Unmanned Aerial systems
Air and sea surface targets
Portable undersea tracking range for anti-submarine training
Please go to this website and read some of the documents in the Navy’s DEIS.... NWTRangeComplexEIS.com They are quite alarming.
I was so alarmed about the Navy’s proposals that I spoke at the hearing, saying I am calling Gov. Kulongoski’s, Sen. Ron Wyden’s and Sen. Jeff Merkley’s offices on Monday to ask their intervention with the Secretary of the Navy. I encourage others to do likewise. And encourage their friends and neighbors, too. All the contact information for our federal and state elected officials is at this website: nrdconline.org/nrdc/leg-lookup/search.tcl
The Navy needs to rethink and abandon large parts of this entire proposal. The potential effects of new and increased military activity off the coast of Oregon could result in a general degradation of the environment, be fatal to wildlife and detrimental to the human quality of life. And contrary to the best interests of the tourism industry and coastal property values. We need to ensure our concerns are heard loud and clear before the Navy’s proposals become foregone conclusions.
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