Navy proposes testing range extensions in Kitsap

Public hearing scheduled for Oct. 1.

The Navy plans to extend several ranges operated by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Keyport and officials want to hear from the public.

The Navy, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and NUWC Keyport invite interested community members to attend a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport. The hearing will highlight the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex Extension Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS).

NUWC Keyport has provided facilities and capabilities to support the testing of torpedoes, other unmanned vehicles, submarine readiness, diver training and similar activities since 1914, according to NUWC Keyport.

The Navy would like to extend the ranges used for testing located in the Port Orchard Reach near Keyport, on the Hood Canal in Dabob Bay in the vicinity of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and on the Washington coast near Kalaloch.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime proposal,” said NUWC Keyport Spokeswoman Diane Jennings.

The Navy proposes to increase the size of each range and increase the number of days two of the three ranges are used per year.

NUWC Keyport said there should be little, if any, inconvenience to the public in the range areas.

Wednesday’s public hearing at the Naval Undersea Museum will include an “open house” session from 5 to 6:30 p.m. People will have an opportunity to ask Navy representatives questions about the proposed range extensions. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. with a formal presentation followed by public comments.

People may comment orally or in writing. Written comments on the draft EIS/OEIS will be accepted through Oct. 27.

“The Navy will look at the comments and prepare the EIS for approval,” Jennings said. “We’re anticipating that we could have a final document in the fall of 2009.”

People may send written comments to: Kimberly Kler (EIS/OEIS PM), Naval Facilities Command, 1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203, Silverdale, WA 98315-1101 or faxed to her at (360) 396-0857.

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