Washington says no to U.S. Navy’s proposal to conduct electronic-warfare exercises on state land.
Washington has told the U.S. Navy that it’s not interested in allowing state land on the Olympic Peninsula to be used for electronic-warfare exercises.
The Navy has proposed using mobile electronic emitters on three sites owned by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) so jet pilots could practice detecting the signals. The Navy had not yet applied for a lease or land-use permit.
Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark told the Navy on Friday that the state didn’t want to participate in the training exercises. He did not give a reason in the letter sent to Rear Adm. Jeffrey Ruth, who commands the Navy Region Northwest.
“We feel it is important to inform the Navy of one project we would prefer not to partner on at this time,” Goldmark wrote.
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The Navy is still reviewing the letter and is evaluating its options, Liane Nakahara, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Northwest, said Monday.
Nakahara noted that use of DNR land is only one part of the proposal, and the Navy is moving forward on other training improvements.
The Navy wants to improve training for jets based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. It has proposed using mobile electronic emitters on forestland in Olympic, Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee national forests so pilots could practice detecting those signals.
The Navy says no weapons are being used. Heavy-duty pickups will be equipped with emitters that send electromagnetic signals into the sky that are similar to signals used by cordless phones and Bluetooth devices.
People say they’re worried about noise, public safety and other potential effects, and hundreds have opposed the proposal.
The Navy has said there’s no safety issue for the public, wildlife or the environment.
The Navy also is seeking special-use permits from the U.S. Forest Service to use forest roads and pullouts.
In Western Washington, a fixed emitter is also proposed for Pacific Beach while trucks would use 15 sites in the Olympic National Forest. The Navy is proposing eight other sites in North Central Washington in the Okanogan and Colville national forests.
Navy officials have said the plan would allow the Navy to train closer to home. Air crews now fly to Idaho for the training.