The rugged, beautiful Washington Coast and the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula will soon be the site of War Games conducted by the United States Military. In 2015, the United States plans to test and refine our ability to use and maintain electromagnetic weapons in National Forest lands. Pumping radiation out of towers at 14 locations, including stations on the Quinault, Queets, Hoh rivers and rain forests, the US military is saying that there is little to no risk to humans or large animals in the region.
According to an environmental assessment, the purpose of the war games is to train to deny the enemy of:
“all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. electromagnetic energy) for use in such applications as communication systems, navigation systems and defense related systems and components.”
The assessment also states that extended exposure to this level of radiation can pose a serious health hazard. The Peninsula Daily News reports,
“The Navy’s environmental assessment, which includes plans for protecting people and large animals, found no significant impact from the $11.5 million warfare training project, planned to be operational on the West End by September 2015.”
While I am neither an environmental or military expert, testing any level of radiation in or around National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks seems like a terrible idea. Maybe it was one too many episodes of the X-Files, but I don’t necessarily trust everything that is spoon fed to us via regular news sources.
Luckily, I am not alone.
Due to a public outcry on the issue, the Navy, working through the National Forest Service has extended a public comment period through October 25th, 2014. Comments, as well as a plethora of information on the issue can be found HERE.
According to the reports linked above, 15 minutes of exposure from the radiation can severely damage the eyes and other sensitive skin. If this level of radiation can cause harm to people over 15 minutes, what exactly will it be doing to the birds and large mammals in the region? What is it going to do to the millions of pounds of slugs, spiders, bees and other small creatures? While many may feel this is needed, maybe it is time to rethink our entire way of life. Instead spending the 11.5 million dollars on this radiation-filled warfare training project, why don’t we take that money and use it on something longer lasting than piece of mind until the next technological advancement?
(The above section is hyperbole and has no scientific basis, it is just me venting my frustrations over a project I 100% disagree with.)
If you feel passionate about this issue on either side, please comment often and make your voice heard. This is the last chance we have until the beautiful Olympic Peninsula rain forests and river valleys get used for war games.
Before commenting, please read the Environmental Assessment, located HERE
EMAIL THE FOREST SERVICE YOUR COMMENT*: firstname.lastname@example.org
*US Forest Service email address obtained through Peninsula Daily News.