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1/16/2013
Navy tests

The U.S. Navy has been a good neighbor in Ketchikan.

Undoubtedly, it would be in the Gulf of Alaska as well.

The Navy is asking Alaskans to participate in a Training Activities Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement. For short, EIS/OEIS, if acronyms make it simpler to say. That's questionable in this case.

But there you have it. The Navy says the circumstances, information or analysis relevant to the environment has changed since the original EIS.

The Navy intends to evaluate and incorporate information pertaining to its plan to train in the gulf. It will re-analyze acoustic effects on marine species, and renew federal regulatory permits and authorizations.

The Navy plans to conduct two large-scale joint force exercises annually over a period not to exceed 21 days between April and October.

It will comply with the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, and National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

Public comments will be accepted until March 18, 2013. The draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS is scheduled to be released in summer 2014.

Comments may be made online at www.GOAEIS.com or mailed to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest, Attention: Mrs. Amy Burt — GOAL Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager, 1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203, Silverdale, WA 98315-1101.

Additional information is available at the website above.

The Navy has operated its Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility (SEAFAC) on Back Island in Behm Canal near Ketchikan since the early 1990s. Despite environmental concerns at the time, the Navy has conducted its acoustic tests respectfully of the community and the surrounding area.

It is an economic asset for Ketchikan and Alaska. More importantly, Alaska does its duty as part of this nation by welcoming the Navy.