Jefferson County Democrats Unanimously Pass Resolution On Navy Plans

On Tuesday night, the Jefferson County Democrats unanimously voted to ask elected officials at all levels to get the Forest Service to schedule public hearings (not public meetings which have less weight in deliberations), as required by law, on it’s environmental assessment of the Navy’s Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range Plan and the FS’s Finding of No Significant Impacts. The EA was done without legal public input, which is required by law.

The Dems also requested that the Forest Service initiate it’s own scientific investigations and include them in an “honest and open Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process (which is not what is happening now). At present, the person making the decision at the Forest Service indicated at the Port Angeles meeting last week that he was going to approve the EA. It seems a done deal unless we demand the legal process be followed, which at present, it is not.

If you are are concerned with the process the Navy and Forest Service is following, it is recommended you phone, not email,Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Derek Kilmer in Washington and demand they push for these simple requests to be fulfilled.

Scientists Find Out What’s Killing West Coast Starfish – Earthfix

Well, the answers are finally in, and it appears a mutated strain of a common virus to starfish has set this in motion.

SEATTLE — After months of research, scientists have identified the pathogen at the heart of the starfish wasting disease that’s been killing starfish by the millions along the Pacific shores of North America, according to research published Monday.

…The research team also plans to continue investigating environmental factors such as warming water and ocean acidification that may have caused starfish to be more susceptible to the viral infection.

Read the whole story here:

EVENT in PA – Movie “Return of the River” at Elwha Klallam Heritage Center

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 Time 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm PST

Where: Elwha Klallam Heritage Center 401 E. First St.Port Angeles, WA
Audience: Kids, Teens, Singles, College Students, Dads, Moms, Seniors,
Cost: By donation
Contact Name: Suzie Bennett Contact
Contact Phone: 3604178545

“Return of the River” offers a story of hope and possibility amid grim environmental news. It is a film for our time: an invitation to consider crazy ideas that could transform the world for the better. It features an unlikely success story for environmental and cultural restoration. Fundamentally, the Elwha River in Washington State is a story about people and the land they inhabit. The film captures the tenacity of individuals who would not give up on a river, mirroring the tenacity of salmon headed upstream to spawn. It is a narrative with global ramifications, exploring the complex relationship between communities and the environment that sustains them. The camera soars over mountain headwaters, dives into schools of salmon,and captures turbines grinding to a halt; as the largest dam removal project in history begins. The film features people and perspectives on all sides of the Elwha debate, reflecting the many voices of the Elwha valley.

The Director will be available for a Q&A after the film.

My letter to the Navy on Whidbey Island Training Expansion – Update

Republishing this, as it has relevancy today. Originally published in January of 2014.

I have been  a resident and tax payer of Port Townsend/Jefferson County since 1999. I am opposing the expansion of the Whidbey Island training base for the Growlers. I am not against training our Naval pilots. The issue is more about the appropriate use and location of a Navy jet training facility. I live near Jefferson County Fairgrounds. I am approx. 15 miles south-southwest of Ault field. There are many nights when the Growlers are flying, that I am woke up after midnight, sometimes as late as 1AM by their engine noise. This is not the normal sound of a well silenced passenger jet approaching SeaTac. It is enormously loud. If you would have asked me if I ever would  voluntarily live under a Navy flight training range, the answer  would be no. Did I ever imagine that by living 15 miles away from any airport that I would be woken up in the middle of the night by roaring jets? Not likely. Would you?  15 Miles is the distance from Boeing Field to Shoreline. Or Seatac to Tacoma. We would not ever allow drag racing to take place within Port Townsend after 10PM. We shut the County Fair down at 10 to keep the noise down. Can you imagine the outcry if we were going to allow four wheel drive mud racing  at 1AM? There are thousands of people in eastern Jefferson County that need to get up in the morning and go to work. The least we can expect is not to be subjected to high speed jet noise in the middle of the night.

Since 2001 there has been a 300% increase in training flyovers. The Navy also plans to bring 737s to the base this year! People on Whidbey Island have measured noise levels inside their homes at 94 decibels.  94 decibels can damage hearing. Some comparisons: A Boeing 737 or DC-9 aircraft at one nautical mile (6080 ft) before landing (97 dB); power mower (96 dB); motorcycle at 25 ft (90 dB).  Newspaper press (97 dB).

The Navy planes are, obviously, not well muffled, if at all. I don’t believe they could be muffled. I would assume because they need to be highest performance.   That’s understood.  However, given the times of day that they are used, it is totally inappropriate to fly these planes over the populated areas of Admiralty Inlet.

There was a time, many decades ago, when the Admiralty Inlet area was sparsely populated. Those days are long over. The time has come to say no, politely, to the Navy, and ask that it reassign these wings to one of the other 10 training sites around the country, many of which are likely to more appropriately locate the aircraft to a less populated area, such as Tinker AFB, in OK. Or find a new home in Eastern Washington. It’s only a hop and a jump from here to there in a plane traveling over 300 miles an hour. Oak Harbor will find another way to make money without the Navy airbase, as have all the areas around it who don’t have a base next door.

I am concerned at the unlimited expansion of military training that is happening here in North Puget Sound. We are giving away to the US military a lot for our privacy  and quiet. We have witnessed in the last 10 years alone expanded activity and security at Indian Island, with increased random stops of boaters out for an afternoon. We also have been designated a Navy training airspace  area over Admiralty Inlet and Port Townsend Bay that allows helicopter overflight for training at low altitudes without warning,  along with a doubling of capacity at Bangor on Hood Canal, barely regulated sonar testing in an area that has Orcas and other whales, increased closings of the Hood Canal Bridge at all hours for military boat traffic, and now expansion of high speed jets on Whidbey Island. Now there is the proposal floated to do low level electromagnetic training on the west end of the Peninsula, another idea floated with very little initial press. It was only when some locals in Forks saw a flyer hanging in the local shop, and posted on a blog were the public brought to it’s attention. When added together, these create a picture that we are giving away our peace and quiet, to become surrounded by high security operations that are outside our ability to control, let alone expect a good night’s sleep. It’s time to say no to this. There are other options for the Navy. There are not for us. This is our home. We pay our taxes to create and maintain these bases. We should have some say where to locate them.

The  Navy has extended the scoping period for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for EA-18G Growler airfield operations at NAS Whidbey Island’s Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville, including the proposed introduction of two additional expeditionary Electronic Attack (VAQ) squadrons and the addition of aircraft to the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS). There will be a public meeting, only done because of continued pressure on the Navy, on Thursday December 4th in Port Townsend. (other sites on Whidbey as well). The closing day to get letters like this to the Navy January 9th.

Send letters to EA-18G EIS Project Manager (Code EV21/SS); Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic, 6506 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23508. Comments may also be submitted to the project website at You can also contact Representatives Kevin Van De Wege, Steve Tharinger, and State Senator James Hargrove, in addition to Representative Derek Kilmer and State Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

Event: How Do Our Hazardous Waste Site Cleanups Compare?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

6:30 PM   The Landing Mall – Second Floor

115E.Railroad Avenue     Port Angeles WA


Dr. Peter L. deFur will be in Port Angeles on Thursday, November 20 to give a presentation comparing cleanup sites on which he is working in USEPA Region 10 — Rayonier-Port Angeles Harbor, Seattle Duwamish River and Portland Harbor.

He will cover the contaminants at each site, compare cleanup options and plans for each site, cover alternative cleanup methods available to be used on particular contaminants, and compare agency support of the citizen groups at the different sites.

These cleanups are overseen by the WA State Department of Ecology and/or the USEPA.  In WA State, these cleanups are part of the Puget Sound Partnership Cleanup Initiative.  The Rayonier-Port Angeles Harbor and the Duwamish River are  Ecology priority cleanup sites.

Dr. Peter L. deFur is president and owner of the consulting firm Environmental Stewardship Concepts, LLC, based in Henrico VA.  and an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond VA.   Dr. deFur has research and practical experience in the areas of ecological risk assessment, environmental regulations and policies, and toxicology.

Dr. deFur received his B.S. and M.A. degrees in Biology from the College of William and Mary, in Virginia, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Calgary, Alberta.  He has held faculty positions at George Mason University and Southeastern Louisiana University before joining the staff of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in Washington, DC.  In 1996, deFur formed an independent private consulting firm, Environmental Stewardship Concepts, LLC, and accepted a part-time position at VCU.

Dr. deFur has extensive experience in human health risk assessment and ecological risk assessment regulations, guidance and policy. He served on the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC )Risk Characterization Committee that prepared Understanding Risk, on several subsequent study committees and served on the NRC Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology from 1996 to 1999. He presently serves on the/NRC/NAS committee on Uranium Mining in Virginia. He served on a number of scientific reviews of EPA ecological and human health risk assessments, including the Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment, the assessment for the WTI incinerator in Ohio and EPA’s Ecological Risk Assessment Guidelines. Dr. deFur was a member of each of the three federal advisory committees for EPA’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Program. Dr. deFur was chair of the peer review of EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment in 2000.


Darlene Schanfald

Project Coordinator

Rayonier -  Port Angeles Harbor Hazardous Waste Cleanup Project

Olympic Environmental Council Coalition

PO Box 2664

Sequim WA  98382


Traces Of Fukushima Radioactivity Detected In West Coast Waters – KPLU

We’ve known it was coming for some time, and now it’s been confirmed. The first edges of the plume of radioactivity distinctly known to come from Fukushima is being seen, albeit at extremely low levels. There is no reason not to consume fish from the Pacific at this point, as the levels are so small that you likely are eating radioactivity from other background sources already at these levels. The real concern is if these levels start increasing. The other concern is, “what is being done to stop the radioactive water leaking into the Pacific?” As I understand, it still is at significant levels. The press has just stopped reporting it.

An oceanography institute announced Monday that trace amounts of radioactivity from Japan have been detected off the West Coast. Radiation experts say the low levels of radioactivity measured do not pose a health threat here…. A recent research cruise from Dutch Harbor, Alaska to Eureka, California detected the front edge of the plume multiple times between 100 and 1,000 miles offshore. Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

Navy sonar use in waters off North Olympic Peninsula to be expanded in supplement study under development – PDN

And so the continued piecemeal  expansion of the Navy in our waters continues with virtually no real debate.

The Navy is preparing a supplement to an environmental impact statement that would increase use of sonar in the Northwest Training and Testing Study Area. In January, the Navy released a draft environmental impact study of training exercises and use of sonar and explosives in the training zone that includes areas off the North Olympic Peninsula’s Pacific Coast — including the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary — off Indian Island and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. By December, the Navy expects to release a supplement to that draft study, recommending increasing the use of sonobuoys, and open it to public comment. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)


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