Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hey Olympic National Forest: "Navy exercises don’t mix with the wildlife Letter"


Regarding the Navy’s plans to conduct electronic war games over the Olympic Peninsula, the feds apparently are bowing to pressure to find no significant impact on anything — tourism, residents, endangered species; you name it, it’s A-OK.

One problem: the citizenry isn’t bowing.

The Navy’s apathy for the endangered spotted owl and marbled murrelet populations of the Olympic Peninsula is just another reprehensible instance of the oxymoron, “Navy planning.”

The Navy is drunk on its power and privilege, and with good reason. Their record shows they know how to grease the EIS tracks to always get their beloved “Finding of No Significant Impact.”

The Prowlers and Growlers were never planned for the northern Puget Sound area — they just nibbled their way into a presence over years of inattentive and self-aggrandizing political “leadership,” who privately back-slapped the Navy brass and allowed them to advance their military agenda with winks and nods.

With that backing, all the Navy had to do was overlook civilian concerns or offer a bit of lip service — that was always good enough. This carte blanche conditioning of the Navy led to its current “no-boundaries-for-us” myopia.

These two endangered species, however, demand serious attention and perhaps will make the Navy begin to understand there are boundaries and that FONSIs are not always automatic.

For several years now, Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, correctly insisted that these new-age jets are a misfit for the Puget Sound area because of their devastating economic and health impacts on the public.

It is insulting and sadly ironic that these two avian species will demand greater attention than the huge impacts on citizens and non-endangered species. The Navy should be embarrassed.

Be certain, these jets cannot coexist within the fast-growing Puget Sound region composed of an environmentally informed and proactive public. 

The inevitability of moving the Growlers to a welcoming and environmentally insensitive area can be done parsimoniously now or at much greater cost later.

Robert Wilbur



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