Pacific Beach will now host a public meeting on the Navy’s plan to expand electronic warfare training in the Olympic National Forest as well as at the Pacific Beach Naval facility.
The meeting will be from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 19 at the Pacific Beach Elementary gym.
“There will be several agencies from the county there as well, to voice their concerns,” said Stephanie Allestad of Grays Harbor Fire District No. 8, who lobbied for the meeting along with other Pacific Beach citizens. “Please try to keep your comments and questions to 5 minutes so everyone can have a chance to speak.”
The meeting will be one of several the Navy has conducted after finding “no significant” impacts in the plan initially approved. The Navy is preparing to use facilities at Pacific Beach to construct a new communications tower capable of generating an electromagnetic wave as part of what is being proposed as the Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range.
The tower would be capable of generating an electromagnetic wave at frequencies ranging from 2 to 18 gigahertz (GHz) and it would be able to emit up to 64 simultaneous signals while transmitting in pulses or a continuous wave, the environmental assessment states. The Navy has said it would not have a significant impact on the public or the community and would be part of a larger plan to install and operate an electronic warfare range in which aircraft, ships and submarines can practice and have that information communicated and analyzed in a central location. Also, the Navy plan is to use mobile emitters at various locations, including several in Grays Harbor County and north of the Quinault Indian Nation.
The intent is to have the project up and running by September 2015. The Navy still needs permission from the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources for use of roads in remote areas where the mobile units would travel and set up.
Recent public meetings on the proposal also were conducted in Forks and Port Angeles, and the issue has drawn the attention of U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer. View the full environmental assessment of the Navy’s plan online: http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/nepa_project_exp.php?projec…
Note: Citizens also are invited to a town hall meeting with County Commissioner Wes Cormier from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 20 at the North Beach Community Center (GHFD No. 8).