The US Navy is looking at potential environmental effects of testing off the Washington coast.
According to the Navy, they are currently preparing a supplement to their 2015 Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) to look at “the potential environmental effects associated with ongoing and future at-sea military readiness activities” conducted in the area.
The Navy uses the area in and around Washington waters along the coastline, for “training and research, development, testing, and evaluation”.
These areas include;
- Established maritime operating areas and warning areas in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, including areas within the:
- Strait of Juan de Fuca
- Puget Sound
- Western Behm Canal in southeastern Alaska
- Air and water space within and outside Washington state waters
- Air and water space outside state waters of Oregon and Northern California
- Navy pierside locations
A release states that they propose conducting at-sea training and testing activities within the area. This includes using “active sound navigation and ranging (sonar) and explosives while employing marine species protective mitigation measures”.
The Navy previously completed an EIS/OEIS in 2015 for at-sea training and testing activities occurring within the Study Area. This supplement is being prepared to support ongoing and future activities conducted at sea within the Study Area beyond 2020.
They say that the proposed training and testing activities are generally consistent with those analyzed in the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS and are representative of activities the Navy has been conducting in the Study Area for decades.
As part of the process, the Navy will ask for permit approval under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.
The Navy is requesting public comments on the scope of their analysis, including potential environmental issues and alternatives to be considered during the development of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS.
The 30-day scoping comment period runs through September 21, 2017.
Comments must be postmarked or received online by Sept. 21, 2017 for consideration in the development of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS. Comments may be submitted online at www.NWTTEIS.com, or by mail to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attention: NWTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager
3730 North Charles Porter Ave., Building 385
Oak Harbor, WA 98278-3500
Scoping meetings are not being held at this stage of the process because the Proposed Action does not differ substantially from the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS. However, public meetings are planned to occur following the release of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS in early 2019.
For more information, visit the project website at www.NWTTEIS.com.