Timeline for Release of Final EIS for Growler Operations at NAS Whidbey Island Extended
Read the Navy's September 22, 2017 press release.
Navy wants more Seal Training areas
in Washington State
Comments due by February 21
The Navy has conducted SEAL training in the Northwest for the past 30 years, and the growing demand for special operation missions "has triggered the need for an increase in the training tempo," said Navy Region Northwest spokeswoman Sheila Murray in a Kitsap Sun interview on January 12.
The Navy initially released a proposal in April 2017 with a plan to expand operations. After accepting comments on that proposal and refining it, the Navy released an updated draft environmental assessment on Jan. 23 that called for ramping up training in the region even further.
The proposal would increase the size of training groups and add more training cycles in the Northwest per year in addition to adding a few new skills to the line-up for trainees to practice.
If the Navy moves ahead with the proposal, training blocks would increase from the current level of two per year to six. Each training block would increase from 70 special operations trainees and support personnel to 84 who would arrive in the state for two to eight weeks of training.
Not all trainees and support personnel would operate in the same area at the same time. They'd be dispersed throughout multiple training events that would occur throughout the region. Each exercise would last anywhere from two hours to three days. At most, a training site could be used 36 times a year, while some as few as three.
The 2017 assessment expanded the proposed training area along stretches of Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the southwestern Washington coastline, including most of the shoreline in Kitsap County. Training would be conducted on state-owned public land, private land with the owner's permission and Department of Defense land.
The Navy was granted permission in 2014 to begin using public lands for training at Scenic Beach, Illahee and Blake Island state parks in Kitsap County and at Mystery Bay and Fort Flagler state parks on Marrowstone Island, near Naval Magazine Indian Island in Port Townsend Bay. Since then, curious onlookers have spotted small, black submarine-like underwater vehicles in the water just off the at Tracyton boat launch and at Bremerton's Evergreen-Rotary Park.
With the updated environmental assessment, the Navy added potential training sites in Discovery Bay and Dabob Bay in Jefferson County, the Port of Anacortes, and at the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Tacoma.
Additionally, some privately owned properties were added to the list after "people began offering up their properties for training," Murray said.
On McNeil Island in Pierce County, the proposed training area is smaller than what was described in last year's proposal "due to wildlife restrictions."The Navy unveiled its draft Environmental Assessment on its proposed special operations training Jan. 18 and is asking the public to comment on the 267-page document until Feb. 21.
The Navy will accept comments through Feb. 21 via email at email@example.com or by written comments mailed to Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest, Attention: Project Manager, EV21.AW at 1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203, Silverdale, WA 98315.
The Environmental Assessment document can be found at https://www.navfac.navy.mil/content/dam/navfac/NAVFAC%20Atlantic/NAVFAC%20Northwest/PDFs/About%20Us/Environmental_Planning_Documents_NEPA/NW_Special_OPS_Trng_DraftEA_Jan18.pdf
Read more about the Navy Seals at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/world/asia/the-secret-history-of-seal-team-6.html?_r=0 .
More than 150 seek answers at Navy
Peninsula Daily News, February 9, 2018
A small chorus sang songs of peace during the Navy’s open house in Port Townsend as people learned about the Navy’s proposal to increase special operations training around the Puget Sound.
More than 150 people packed into Blue Heron Middle School on Wednesday night to air their concerns about the Navy’s plans and to learn about what the increased training would mean for people locally. The Navy received about 75 written comments.
Many who attended expressed environmental concerns, but also said they were upset about the ever-increasing presence of the military in the area.
“This is part of the whole militarization of this entire region,” said Jean Walat. “We’ve had the sonar underwater, the growlers overhead, the impacts to [Olympic National Park] and now this is accessing the beaches.”