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Pacific Northwest residents have a last chance to stop the U.S. Navy from expanding deadly weapons and sonar operations off the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts. After widespread and intense opposition to its plans in 2009, the Navy has ignored or dismissed some 1,000 pages of critical comments in issuing its final environmental impact statement for this program. By the end of October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is scheduled to authorize it.

Only the U.S. Congress can stop this carnage now. And only intense pressure from constitutuents and coastal governments will goad Congress into acting.

Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley joined California Senator Feinstein and Congressman Waxman in a June 19, 2009 letter to NOAA:

"...In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of its exercises or expand the areas in which they may occur, and virtually every coastal state will be affected.  Some exercises may occur in the nation's most biologically sensitive marine habitats, including National Marine Sanctuaries and breeding habitats... In all, the Navy anticipates more than 2.3 million takes (significant disruptions in marine mammal foraging, breeding, and other essential behaviors) per year, or 11.7 million takes over the course of a five-year permit..."

To "take" is a legal euphemism for to kill or maim. Without quick congressional action, NOAA will as usual rubber-stamp the Navy's plans to "take" 11.7 million marine mammals – and untold numbers of fish, birds, invertebrates, and other life – in Pacific Northwest waters alone over the next five years. Despite numerous comments about protecting marine reserves and sanctuaries, the Navy has refused to avoid such reserves or to avoid areas frequented by migrating whales or salmon.

The Navy has similarly ignored or dismissed concerns about the deadly debris, including unexploded ordnance, left behind by its war games, and states that it will continue its practice of dumping overboard wastes containing heavy metals and other poisons, including cyanide.

Humboldt and Mendocino counties in California have taken strong action in letters urging the U.S. Congress to delay NOAA's approval and hold congressional investigations into the need for and legality of the Navy's proposed operations. The Humboldt supervisors wrote on October 19:

"Humboldt County would like to state clearly that the only viable mitigation for our coast is complete avoidance. The species we have referred to in these comments are present for long periods or year around. They frequent the areas from 12 to 50 miles offshore and would be vulnerable to your operations. We are especially concerned about the impacts resulting from sophisticated sonar and any explosive devices. Clearly, these important resources should not be subjected to your exercises."

Although Oregon's and Washington's coastlines are even more directly in the Navy's line of fire, not a single coastal Oregon or Washington county has joined Humboldt and Mendocino.

Urgent action is needed. Contact your local government and U.S. legislators to stop this reckless destruction of our already dwindling marine resources.

Contact information:

U.S. Navy Final Environmental Impact Statement NWTRC Website:   Go to NEPA Section

Curry County Board of Commissioners
Gold Beach, Oregon 97444 <> <> <>

Coos County Board of Commissioners    
250 North Baxter, Coquille, Oregon  97423
(541) 396-3121  EXT 225 <> <> <>

Douglas County Board of Commissioners
Douglas County Courthouse Room 216
Roseburg, Oregon 97470
(541) 440-4201

Clatsop County Board of Commissioners    
800 Exchange St - Suite 410
Astoria, Oregon 97103
(503) 325-1000

Tillamook County board of Commissioners    
301 Laurel Avenue
Tillamook, Oregon 97141
(503) 842-3403

Lane County Board of Commissioners  
125 East 8th Avenue
Eugene, Oregon  97401
(541) 682-4203

Lincoln County Board of Commissioners  
225 West Olive Street - Room 110
Newport, Oregon 97365
(541) 265-4100

Pacific County Board of Commissioners
Courthouse Annex
South Bend, WA 98586
(360) 267-8337

Clark County Board of Commissioners
1300 Franklin Street - 6th Floor
Vancouver, WA 98666
(360) 397-2232

Wahkiakum Board of Commissioners
Wahkiakum County P. O. Box 586
64 Main Street
Cathlament, WA 98612
360-795-8048 ~ 360-795-0342 fax  
Marsha LaFarge <>

Jefferson County Board of Commissioners
P.O. Box 1220
Port Townsend,WA 98368
Phone: 360.385.9100
Fax: 360.385.9382

Cowlitz County Board of Commissioners
207 4th Avenue  - 3rd Floor - Room 305
Kelso, WA  98626
(360) 577-3020 <>

Clallam County Commissioners
By Telephone: 360-417-2233
By FAX: 360-417-2493
By Regular Mail:
Clallam County Commissioners
223 East 4th Street, Suite 4
Port Angeles, Washington 98362-3000 <>

U.S. Navy Contacts:

A copy of the Final EIS/OEIS is available at:
U.S. NAVY NWTRC:  Northern California, Oregon, Washington & Idaho

Comments on the Final EIS/OEIS must be postmarked or received by October 24, 2010
Interested parties may submit comments via the project website at    
or by U.S. mail to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203
Silverdale, WA 98315-1101
Attn: Mrs. Kimberly Kler – NWTRC EIS

Send NOAA Written Public Comments to:

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Undersecretary
Oceans & Atmosphere U.S. Department of Commerce
NWTRC EIS – Public Comment Deadline October 31, 2010
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230

Michael Payne, Chief Permits, Conservation and Education
Office of Protected Resources - National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD  20910-3225

Contact your Elected Representatives at this Toll Free # (866) 220-0044 in Washington, D.C.

Request U.S. Congressional Hearings in order to protect Public Health, Marine Mammals & Fish –

U.S. Congressional Hearings - Ask for 60 day extension of NOAA issuing permit for Navy "TAKE"

Suggestions for elected officials:

•    We should be asking our elected officials to put a moratorium on the issuance of any permits for the taking of marine mammals until all stakeholders in the NWTRC have had sufficient time to review all pertinent documents.

•    Officials must ensure that we protect the Oregon’s Marine Reserves and all National Marine Sanctuaries, including the Olympic National Marine Sanctuary in Washington, from U.S. Navy Warfare Testing.  Working to protected biologically sensitive areas in Northern California.

•    Our elected officials, at every level, work to obtain an extension of the NOAA deadline for public comments until all stakeholders and the public have had time to review information that NOAA has obtained since their last public comment period ended early last year.

•    Questions raised by the public, many government, state, and local agencies and our elected officials have been answered either inadequately or not at all in the Navy's Final EIS.   Thus, there should be a new public comment period prior to any permit being issued by NOAA for the Navy to "take" any marine mammals in the Northwest Training Range Complex.

•    U.S. Congressional hearings should be requested in order to protect public health, marine mammals, the tourism, fishing and related industries, along with birds, other marine life, and public health.  These hearings should be held before NOAA issues any permit to the Navy for the "taking" of any marine mammals.

A wealth of supporting documents and official comments may be found at:

Originally posted to Carol Van Strum on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 08:19 AM PDT.

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