I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
-Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear devastation)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Second Explosives Handling Wharf Makes No Sense!

Glen Milner, local activist (and perpetual thorn in the Navy's side) with a long and respectable history of getting the facts, has been working long hours to understand just what is going on behind the scenes with the Navy's plan to build a Second Explosives Handling Wharf (EHW) at the Bangor Trident submarine base.

Glen has learned many important things along the way; among them that the Navy has not provided the legal notice for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement(EIS), has withheld important information (particularly regarding the risk and effects of accidents), and has not addressed the fact that the Test Pile Program and the second EHW are connected actions. I've highlighted some of Glen's thoughts and findings.
I have learned recently how much influence the Navy has in our region:  New to me is how many people in the local science community work on projects funded by the Navy and work with the Navy in Hood Canal.  Individuals at NOAA, the University of Washington, etc. do not want to be publicly connected to an effort to stop a major Navy project.

I recently had a long discussion with retired oceanographer Norm Buske, who has spent many years monitoring the Navy in the Bremerton area and the DOE at Hanford, and other projects involving radioactive material.  Norm’s website is at http://www.radioactivist.org/  He has given us some issues to address.  I encourage anyone to try to get a statement addressing biological issues in Hood Canal... 
Glen recently spoke with Dr. Martin Hellman, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, who is notable for his work on risk assessment (see http://nuclearrisk.org/).
Hellman supports our efforts [regarding the EHW] but he wants to stay focused on the risk of nuclear war.  He understands the risk of an accident at the wharf and knows that Lockheed Martin has a history of underestimating the possibility of a catastrophic systems failure, as with the Space Shuttle Program.  Hellman has been featured in at least one publication lately, at http://www.daisyalliance.org/newsletters/daisy-alliance-201104.html.
Glen sums things up with the following logic (something the Navy's claims don't seem to have).
The more I look at the Navy’s need for the wharf, the less it makes sense.  Most of the contracts for the Life Extension Program for the D-5 missile appear to be complete by 2016, which is the earliest year a second wharf could be completed.  The upgraded missiles should be nearly complete and should be deployed on submarines by then.  I do not believe the Navy’s claim of needing 400 “operational days” per year for loading and unloading operations in Hood Canal.  This is twice as many days as the Navy claims it currently requires.
There are far too many unanswered questions about the EHW - "operational days", safely conducting operations at two adjacent EHWs, and why we even need another EHW in light of Glen's point in the previous paragraph, to name just a few - to rubber stamp such an expensive and wasteful project.  The EIS is window dressing in a very real sense.  There is so much more at stake here than eel grass, seals and starfish.

It is time to say an emphatic "NO" to the Navy's unnecessary plan for a Second Explosives Handling Wharf!

Read more from Glen in his recent Op-Ed, Public needs to know about Navy operations, in the Kitsap Sun.

Go to our Act Up page to take action and comment on the EHW!

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