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
The Navy is proposing special operations warfare training along 265 miles of Washington state shorelines and 65 state parks at launching sites, marinas, and within cities and towns.
Although the Navy has conducted SEAL training in the Northwest for the past 30 years, it intends to significantly expand operations well beyond what has been conducted in the past without providing a comprehensive environmental impact statement.
According to the Navy’s Draft Environmental Assessment, “The Proposed Action supports small-unit, intermediate and advanced cold-water maritime and land-based training activities for naval special operations personnel on selected nearshore lands and in the inland waters of Puget Sound, including Hood Canal, as well as the southwestern Washington coast. Training would start in 2018 and occur into the foreseeable future.”
The specific, long-term environmental consequences of innumerable military assault exercises to each of the public and private shoreline areas is not addressed in the Navy’s assessment.
The actual number of military personnel involved in the training exercises is also uncertain. The EA states 84 individuals will take part, but the number discussed during the Navy’s “open house” events was 504. An email from Washington State Governor Inslee’s office expressed concern about possibly more than 2,000. These trainees would be:
• Inserting and extracting trainees
• Launching and recovering watercraft
• Using unmanned underwater vehicles
• Moving on foot over the beach
• Using observation techniques on military role players
• Simulating building clearance
• Firing paint pellets as simulated munitions
• Using small unmanned aircraft systems
A March 2015 video of a presentation by the Special Operations Command to the Big Spring City Council in Bastrop, Texas, explains in detail the concept and procedures of conducting “realistic military training”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLM4-aImMkY&t=12m35s
Navy special operations soldiers with "simulated" weapons would attempt to hide from civilians for exercises lasting as long as three days at a time. Citizens using state parks, public beaches and marinas, and carrying out their daily lives in communities adjacent to marine areas would be considered “the enemy”, as the military’s object is to be able to pursue stealth activities without being observed. The possibility of inadvertent confrontations between the unsuspecting public and armed soldiers could create dangerous situations. As was mentioned in the Navy's EA, "children could be startled". [See Army's Reality Game Takes a Deadly Turn http://articles.latimes.com/2002/feb/27/news/mn-30109.]
The Navy has not done a sufficient job of evaluating the potential degradation of our fragile shorelines ecosystem, the economic impacts of impeding the public’s use of state parks, and the irreparable damage to the public’s trust in the military.
Comments, including a demand for a comprehensive environmental impact statement, should be sent to
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attention: Project Manager, EV21.AW
1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203
Silverdale, WA 98315-1101
Via Email: email@example.com
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.”