Trident nuclear submarine base Bangor, known as Naval Base Kitsap Bangor (just 20 miles west of Seattle, Washington), wants to expand at a time when the United States is not only desperately trying to find ways to reign in spending, but also trying (according to at least President Obama and a few others) to lead the world towards nuclear disarmament. The U.S. Navy has been quietly planning for quite a while to build a second explosives handling wharf, and only now is being forced to surface to seek public comments for the Environmental Impact Statement.
The current Explosives Handling Wharf is used to load and offload the Trident D-5 missiles with their multiple nuclear warheads to and from the Trident submarines based at Bangor. Ironically, Bangor (according to Navy records) should not need a (expensive) second Explosives Handling Wharf until 10 Trident submarines would be based at Bangor; there are currently 8 Tridents based at Bangor. Does this sound like a tremendous waste of money at a time when the upcoming 2010 Nuclear Posture Review will most likely reduce, or at least freeze, the Trident fleet.
Besides the environmental impacts of such a large-scale project, it is also a budget drainer - cost estimates range from $336 million to $780 million. Hey, who needs education, health care or anything else when you build such a nice, new explosives handling wharf; and when it's sitting idle, they can go fishing off the end of the pier. Doesn't everybody want one of these???
But really folks - If the Navy's desire to over consume and expand its waste line bothers you, there is time to have your say. There will be three meetings around Puget Sound starting tomorrow, and the public comment period ends July 17, 2009. Make your voices heard!!! The plan for a second wharf not only makes no sense economically or in terms of the President's focus on nuclear disarmament, but it also sends a dangerous message to Russia and every other nuclear power (and nuclear wannabees) that the U.S. intends to increase its reliance (and the size of the fleet) on Trident.
All three meetings are open house format and run from 5:30 to 8:30.
- Tuesday, June 23 - Poulsbo Fire Station Main Headquarters, Multipurpose Room, 911 NE Liberty Road, Poulsbo
- Wednesday, June 24 - Port Ludlow Fire Station 31, Training Room, 7650 Oak Bay Road, Port Ludlow
- John Stanford Center for Academic Excellence, Auditorium, 2445 3rd Avenue South, Seattle
Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor, Federal Register
Navy Region Northwest statement on the Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor
EIS process for the Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor
Let's make our voices heard: It is time to cut back, not expand, Trident!!!
Note: Photo courtesy of Tom Karlin, taken at Sub Base Bangor during the May 31, 2008 Feast of the Visitation Vigil and Direct Action