Washington state has told the U.S. Navy it can’t use state land to conduct electronic-warfare training on the Olympic Peninsula.
The state Department of Natural Resources gave no reason for the denial, simply saying in a letter that the agency preferred not to partner on the project.
The Navy wants to use mobile electronic emitter trucks on 15 sites on the Olympic Peninsula. The trucks would emit electromagnetic signals for Navy pilots in radar-jamming planes to detect.
Three of the Navy’s proposed sites are on land managed by Natural Resources. The rest are on U.S. Forest Service land.
The state’s letter was preemptive since the Navy has not officially asked for the permits yet.
Liane Nakahara, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Northwest, says the letter is still being reviewed. “At this point I do not know what the Navy’s response will be to the letter, or the Navy’s next steps will be in terms of that particular piece of the process,” Nakahara said.
Public comments on the proposal have been overwhelmingly negative. Some people expressed worry about increased jet noise and the effects of the electromagnetic radiation on people and wildlife.
The Navy says the emitted signals are equivalent to those from a cell phone tower.
Despite the state’s denial, the Navy still might be able to conduct the training on nearby federal land. The Navy has requested permits from the U.S. Forest Service, and a decision is expected later this year.
Correction 3/5/15, 4:15 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described a Navy proposal to use mobile electronic emitter trucks on the Olympic Peninsula to train pilots of radar-jamming planes. Pilots would be trained only to detect electromagnetic signals, not disable them.