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Oregon Leaders Welcome Navy Decision to Hold Public Meeting on Its Plans for CoastSalem-News.com
“Given the potential ramifications for our fisheries and marine wildlife, the public must be heard on any issue that could impact the Oregon coast” - U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley, along with Oregon Congressmen Kurt Schrader, David Wu, Peter DeFazio, and Earl Blumenauer, welcomed the Navy’s decision today to hold a public meeting on February 26, 2009, in Tillamook, Oregon so that the public can respond to its environmental impact statement regarding future Navy operations along the Northwest coast.
The meeting will take place at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds Auditorium at 4603 E. 3rd Street in Tillamook. The Navy’s decision comes after the Oregon members requested an extension of the public comment period and a public meeting earlier this month.
“I thank the Navy for agreeing to move the date for final comment and to hold an additional hearing in Oregon,” said Wyden. “I hope the Navy will listen closely to what Oregonians have to say before moving forward with its plans to use our coastline for training."
“Given the potential ramifications for our fisheries and marine wildlife, the public must be heard on any issue that could impact the Oregon coast,” Merkley said. “The decision announced today to extend the comment period is the right one and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the delegation to ensure that local input is respected and considered as the process moves forward."
“Oregonians deserve the opportunity have their voices heard,” said Congressman Kurt Schrader. “I applaud the Navy’s decision to extend the comment period and hold an additional public hearing. This extended time will help coastal Oregonians further understand the implications of these new exercises. I look forward to continuing to work with community leaders, the Navy, and the rest of the delegation on this important issue.”
“I appreciate the Navy’s efforts to work with our congressional delegation to extend the deadline for public comment. While the extended public comment period is still not as long as I would have liked, I hope the Navy uses this opportunity to heed the concerns of Oregonians and the needs of local communities,” said Wu.
“We treasure our coast here in Oregon, and our delegation will continue to work with the Navy to ensure a full and fair public process for this and future matters.”
“I am pleased the Navy agreed to extend the public comment period and hold hearings in Oregon,” DeFazio said. “The Navy’s future operations could potentially have a dramatic impact on Oregon's struggling fishing industry and coastal communities and Oregonians who have a stake in the health of the coast deserve a voice. Going forward, I hope the Navy will listen to the concerns raised by Oregonian’s and make a fair decision about their training practices off our coast.”
“Oregonians deserve the opportunity to weigh in on the future of their coast. It’s that simple,” said Blumenauer. “I’m pleased that the Oregon delegation was able to help give Oregonians this opportunity and I’m glad the Navy will be hearing their comments.”
A copy of the Navy’s letter announcing its decision follows:
February 18, 2009
The Honorable Ron Wyden
Dear Senator Wyden:
Thank you for your recent letter concerning the Northwest Training Range Complex draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS). I am responding on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy.
The Department of the Navy shares your commitment to ensuring fair and open communication between all affected stakeholders in this EIS/OEIS process. That was the Department's intent when it provided broad notification to the individuals and organizations that had expressed interest in the proposed action during initial public scoping meetings. Based on public interest, and in response to your request, the Department has decided to extend the public comment deadline for this EIS/OEIS to March I l, 2009.
The Department will also hold one additional public meeting on or about February 26, 2009. The intended location of the meeting is Tillamook County. Once the arrangements for the hearing are confirmed, the Department will notify your office of the time and date and publicize that information in the area's media outlets.
I appreciate your interest in this matter. A similar response has been sent to Senator Merkley as well as Representatives Wu, Blumenauer, DeFazio and Schrader. As always, if I can be of any further assistance, please let me know.
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