The Navy held a public meeting Thursday in Tillamook on its proposal to expand warfare training exercises off the Oregon coast. The meeting is part of the extended public comment period on the environmental impact statement for the project, something the Navy agreed to do after urging from Oregon’s Congressional delegation.
Naval warfare exercises off the Oregon coast aren’t exactly new. The Northwest fleet — which is based in five installations in Washington — has conducted various training exercises off Oregon for over 100 years. But the idea now is to revamp that training, as the Navy explained in a Fact Sheet (pdf):
The purpose of the Navy’s Proposed Action in the Northwest Training Range Complex is to achieve and maintain Fleet readiness by enhancing and sustaining training activities and research, devlopment, test and evaluation activities, as well as modernizing existing range capabilities.
The three possible courses of action include the “no action” alternative, which would maintain the status quo; a partial increase in training activities; and the Navy’s “preferred alternative,” which would significantly increase off-shore training, including an uptick in munitions testing and sonar.
Coastal dwellers and conservation groups have expressed concerns about how this proposed increase in training exercises could affect marine life as well as the surrounding ocean and land. They aren’t the only apprehensive ones. Local fishermen worry that the Navy’s increased activity off the coast could affect their business.
Do you live on the coast? Do you fish there? Are you in the Navy? How would expanded training affect you?
- Brian Wauer: A Military Operations Specialist for the U.S. Navy
- Bruce Mate: Director of Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Newport
- Lori Tobias: Staff writer for the Oregonian covering the coast
- Darus Peake: Chairman of the Oregon Salmon Commission and a crab and salmon fisherman based in Garibaldi
- Edna Kenney: Netarts resident and mother of four sons in the Navy