For a quick orientation and introduction to the problem, watch this short video: For Vimeo, click here. For Youtube, click here. For a more in-depth grounding, watch this 10-minute video: The Olympic Peninsula Is Not For Electromagnetic Warfare Training, or listen to this 30-minute broadcast of a public meeting, from KPTZ Compass Radio Newsmagazine.
The mission of the West Coast Action Alliance is to publicly and factually challenge the conversion of lands in our National Forests and State Parks, the airspace over our communities and National Parks, and the waters on which we recreate and make our livings, into a Naval Electronic Warfare Range and military combat training ground. Our purpose is to exchange information and ideas with groups and organizations all across the country, who are fighting their own battles to get the federal government to follow its own laws that are designed to give the public a fair shake. For more information on these organizations, see “Who’s Who” in the dropdown menu under “Overview.”
While our primary area of focus has been on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, military encroachment on nonmilitary and private lands and waters is occurring nationwide. On the Olympic Peninsula, the US Navy is greatly expanding supersonic jet flights and electronic warfare testing and training. It is also increasing sonar explosive activity and bridge closings in the seas and sounds that surround where we live. Ground-based activities are proposed in the Olympic National Forest, increased flyovers are occurring in the airspace over the Olympic Peninsula and surrounding waters, and Navy SEALs have been conducting military combat training on 68 beaches and state parks in western Washington without public knowledge or state agency permission. Areas slated for land disturbance include designated critical habitat for endangered species, dozens of beaches, and potentially low-level flights over large areas designated as wilderness.
In addition, the US Army will be conducting helicopter combat training in the North Cascades at the boundary of a major wilderness, and in Southwest Washington, in important critical habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet. Plus they will be firing rockets into South Puget Sound to test the public’s tolerance of explosions and sonic booms, with the intent of using Puget Sound from now on instead of nearby Yakima Firing Range.
Areas for increased military activity at sea include the Olympic National Marine Sanctuary, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, and Puget Sound, but total warfare range plans stretch from the Gulf of Alaska to Mexico on the West Coast, and from the Gulf of Mexico to Labrador on the East Coast.
If successful, the Navy’s use of roads with unannounced closings in the Olympic National Forest is widely regarded as a precedent for other areas. Increased jet noise and pollution is affecting human and wildlife health and our economy. Increased sonar and underwater explosions are impacting marine mammals, fisheries and our biologically rich waters. An increasing number of flights from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island are causing disturbance, annoyance and health impacts in communities beyond Whidbey Island, from the San Juan Islands to southern Vancouver Island to the Olympic Peninsula’s West End. And SEALs doing unannounced combat training on public and private lands, including residential neighborhoods is unsettling and psychologically intrusive, because the public has not given them permission to train among us.
Affected communities feel besieged and voiceless.
On this web site you will find issue summaries, a calendar of upcoming official comment deadlines with online links, guidelines on how to submit substantive comments, and links to official government documents and scientific reports.