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Large crowd protests Navy electronic warfare training plan at PA forum

November 7th, 2014 – 6:15am

KONP

(Port Angeles) – More than a hundred people crammed the Port Angeles city council chambers last night, most protesting the Navy’s plans for electromagnetic warfare training over the west end of the Olympic Peninsula.

The US Forest Service is considering a permit that would allow the Navy to place radio frequency emitters on mobile trucks in the Olympic National Forest. Forest Service and Navy officials held a public forum on the plan last night.

But most of the those attending were strongly opposed, often interrupting the presenters. Every person asking questions was against the idea, echoing previous concerns about the effect of RF in the forest areas.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Northwest environmental program manager John Mosher says his agency’s environmental assessment for the permit shows it’s safe.

But many of those asking questions disagreed and asked if current data was used in the study.

Questions also covered the amount of noise expected by the increased training. Navy officials say the planes will fly at altitudes higher than 10-thousand feet and there will be no more than a 10 percent increase in activity. Some asked why the Navy doesn’t use an established training area. Navy officials say that would be costly and they area already doing training in this area.

Many in the crowd grew upset when they learned the forum was not being recorded and the questions would not be used as part of the comments on the proposal. Instead, officials said questions and comments have to be submitted in writing through the formal comment process.

The Forest Service is keeping that comment period open until November 28th.

In other news, the Navy plans to extend sonar activity in the North Olympic Peninsula’s coast.  Read story here:
Navy sonar use in waters off North Olympic Peninsula to be expanded in supplement study under development

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