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)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Safety board rejected new explosive wharf at Bangor (Kitsap Sun)

The Kitsap Sun uncovered an interesting bit of news.  To summarize - It seems clear that the Department of Defense (DOD) Explosives Safety Board (note that word "Safety") rejected the plan for a 2nd explosives handling wharf at the Bangor sub base. 

So what did the Navy do???  It did an end run and may have received approval through the Secretary of the Navy Explosives Safety Certification. The approval evidently allows the Navy "to deviate from DOD standards if it assumes all risks for exposed sites and potential explosion sites that don't meet DOD safety criteria," (read - "We can do something that doesn't meet safety standards so long as we say it's OK.").

Whoa!!!  Does that make any sense to you?  Who's assuming what risks???  Does this sound like someone who couldn't graduate from medical school and then sends for one of those fake, mail-order diplomas?  Is the Navy playing fast and loose with safety?  What ARE the risks should something go amiss?  There are huge quantities of explosives on those Trident missiles.  Is it time for the Navy to come clean on the risks (to both the base and surrounding communities) created by a second explosives handling wharf

Here is the full Kitsap Sun article.

Safety board rejected new explosive wharf at Bangor

By Ed Friedrich, Kitsap Sun, October 1, 2012

BANGOR — While the Navy was assuring people that a second explosives handling wharf at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor wouldn't create new safety concerns, the military's explosives safety board was refusing to grant a permit for it.

The Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board approved the location and separation distances for three EHWs in Bangor's 1975 master plan, but wouldn't endorse the decision now that the Navy wants to build a second wharf 37 years later. The scenario had changed, it said in papers responding to a lawsuit filed in federal court by the group Ground Zero for Nonviolent Action.

The safety board's rejection hasn't stalled the $715 million project. Construction began last week. The Navy apparently chose another avenue — the Secretary of the Navy Explosives Safety Certification — that allows it to deviate from DOD standards if it assumes all risks for exposed sites and potential explosion sites that don't meet DOD safety criteria. Records indicate the Navy intended to proceed that way, but spokeswoman Leslie Yuenger couldn't confirm it Monday.

The safety board had given preliminary site approval in October 2011, but with three conditions, including proving that an explosion at one EHW wouldn't cause an explosion at the other. It also required that the Navy conduct a study on the likelihood of risk. The Navy declined, saying the study could delay the project and cost tens of millions of dollars that could be better spent elsewhere.

Ground Zero is asking Judge Ronald Leighton of U.S. District Court in Tacoma for a preliminary injunction halting construction until the environmental effects are fully explained and considered, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

Many documents that were kept from the public during the environmental process have come out during the court proceedings. They had been withheld because they consisted of "unclassified controlled nuclear information." The Navy determined some of the papers shouldn't be classified that way, and Friday released Appendix A in its entirety and Appendices B and C in redacted form.

"The Navy all through its EIS was saying there's no problem with explosives," said Glen Milner, who's named on the lawsuit with Ground Zero. "They said all the way through it they were following Department of Defense safety board regulations, and had no problems. Then we find out at the end that none of this is true."

The Explosives Safety Board was formed by Congress in 1928 after a 1926 explosion at the Naval Ammunition Depot in Lake Denmark, N.J., destroyed the depot, killed 21 people and seriously injured 53. Its mission is to provide objective advice to the secretary of defense and service secretaries on matters concerning explosives safety and to prevent hazardous conditions to life and property on and off Department of Defense installations from DoD munitions.

"Imagine the pressure on these people that work there to say to the Navy, 'We are not going to approve your $700 million project,'" Milner said. "I think that says a lot about the hazards of this project."

Navy officials say they don't comment about ongoing litigation.

The Suquamish Tribe also filed a lawsuit against the Navy and is seeking a preliminary injunction, citing violations of the tribe's treaty rights, the Endangered Species Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and the U.S. Constitution.
© 2012 Kitsap Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(Source URL): http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/oct/01/safety-board-rejected-new-explosive-wharf-at/#ixzz286DTCtyN

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