Forest Service gives green light to electronic warfare training

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Forest Service gives green light to electronic warfare training

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Forest Service Gives Green Light to Electronic Warfare Training on the Peninsula
Despite nearly 3300 letters of objection, public meetings, phone calls, and petitions to government and elected officials by many organizations and individuals, the Forest Service has authorized the issuance of a Special Use Permit that would allow the U.S. Navy to place electromagnetic radiation emitters at eleven designated roadside locations in the Olympic National Forest.

The Navy is now free to turn large areas of the airspace over Washington State's Olympic Peninsula into the Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range (EWR). These areas include Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest, several Indian Reservations; and large portions of private property in Clallam, Jefferson, and Grays Harbor counties.

Emitters are scheduled to be placed around the Olympics sometime in 2018. Several emitter sites are located on the ridges directly above Lake Quinault. Others are on ridges directly above the major rivers of Olympic National Park. These mobile emitters are intended to serve as targets for EA-18G Growler jets to practice detecting (electronic support) and disabling (electronic attack).

By granting this permit, the Forest Service has also given the green light to the US Navy’s plan to increase the number of EA 18G Growlers operating out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and over the Olympic Peninsula from 82 to 170. These have already been funded and are scheduled to all be at Whidbey by sometime in 2017.

The EA-18G jets take off at 150 decibels. Hazards to human hearing begin at 84 decibels. Residents from Whidbey Island on the east to the Olympic Ocean on the west have recorded and documented sound levels reaching 130 decibels, which can cause permanent hearing damage.

The Navy’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement calls for an increase in the number of air field operations at Whidbey's Ault Field of up to 38,700 each year. It is not immediately clear how many of these operations will be operating over the Electronic Warfare Range. It is certain, however, that the number of flights will increase by the thousands per year despite the Navy's public relations promises of an increase of only 125 flights per year.

Save The Olympic Peninsula has been working for over three years to convince the Forest Service and the Navy that such training is detrimental to the Peninsula’s pristine environment and can be pursued in other locations more amenable to warfare training exercises. The best citizen effort was not enough to convince the Forest Service to protect its invaluable forest preserves by denying access for electronic warfare training.

STOP now plans on joining with several other organizations through the Pacific Northwest Coast Alliance to mount a legal challenge to the Forest Service action. It’s going to take major fundraising efforts to meet the related legal costs.

There are two ways you can help:
Be a volunteer at STOP’s booth at the Port Angeles Crab Fest October 6-8 to help increase public awareness of the Navy’s activities. Please respond to this email if you can help by clicking [hidden email].
Donate to our legal fundraising. Your tax-deductible donations are greatly appreciated and can be sent to STOP at P.O. Box 3133, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or made through the PayPal link on our website at,

We look forward to your continued support as we work to protect the Olympic Peninsula from becoming an electronic warfare range. 
Find out more about how to protect our waters from Atlantic Salmon net pens here.
Save The Olympic Peninsula | P.O. Box 3133, Port Angeles, WA 98362
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