So this is the rest of the story, which was originally posted in the Forks Forum and reposted here. The Forks Forum article read like a conspiracy theory report, with mentions of a tiny notice in one location in Forks and no contact with local newspapers, elected officials or anyone else. I almost didn’t pass it along because I didn’t have time to verify it independently.
Without any debate from our elected officials in the last three years, we have allowed the Navy to continue to turn our forests, waters and airspace into a training ground for their war games. Since the Forest Service has decided that there is no health hazard (a bureaucrat decided this on the public’s behalf without consulting scientists apparently), the Navy has not been asked to do a public Environmental Impact statement. For those hiking, mushroom collecting, fishing, and hunting in the woods, you may never even know you are possibly being given large doses of electromagnetic radiation. We have endangered species like the Marbled Murrlett, and the Spotted Owl along with eagles out there in those woods as well. All you can hope is that the Navy actually sees you before they blast you. It would be great to see one of our elected officials step in and demand an EIS on this, rather than rely on the good graces of the military, which operates much of what they do in total secret. Without it, we have no idea of what kind of risks this poses. It’s the kind of thing that is much better suited to a treeless, remote Alaskan island in the Aleutians than a working forest.
My issue with all this, is that while well meaning, many of the soldiers working in our bases around here are not from here. And their commanders apparently don’t train them on how these issues affect us. They have no local knowledge of the people who sail, work the forests, or otherwise live here. We see that all the time in the way we are treated when the Coast Guard stops us sailing around the Bay because they need to practice their boarding techniques, treating us as criminals or possible terrorists. We are the ones who pay their salaries. They serve to protect us. We may be doing nothing more than sailing around an area that they are practicing in, and we become their targets for the day. We also see it in the lack of concern that the Navy shows by flying jets at all hours of the day and night. And now we see it here, where military personnel apparently decided there was no reason to really notify anyone about a major war games project in our woods. As an example, on the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, we have a standing open position for the Navy, a key player in the shorelines and waters of our county. Despite repeated attempts over the years to get them to participate, by sending even one low level PR person to the meetings, they have never felt it necessary to even show up. It just shows a lack of interest in engaging the public, except when they are forced to. This wargames story is another sad example of that.
FORKS — The Navy wants to allow three camper-sized trucks with electromagnetic radiation equipment to conduct war exercises with military aircraft from 15 sites in Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties.
The locations — 12 in Olympic National Forest and three on state Department of Natural Resources land — would be part of the Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range and would involve aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
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