NOAA, Navy need to get together on Mallows Bay
In the story “Navy bases concerned over Mallows Bay” (Wednesday, April 12, page A1), it is reported that Naval Support Facility Indian Head may suffer if the proposed sanctuary area of 18 square miles (Alternative B) is expanded to either a 52-square-mile area (Alternative C) or 100-squaremile area (Alternative D). Public Affairs Officer Jeron Hayes and Commanding Officer Capt. Mary Feinberg reiterated their support for the 18-square-mile sanctuary alternative and gave measured statements about the Navy’s desire to be good environmental stewards and neighbors while ensuring the viability and integrity of their mission, the test range in particular.
The article goes on to state that Hayes said if the area were extended beyond Alternative B, “the future and present of different missions for all three facilities [Indian Head, Quantico, and Blossom Point] could be in jeopardy.” Further, the “other two alternatives are too expansive and would present some difficulty for the base’s operations.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS, http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/ mallows-bay/mallows-proposeddeis-dmp.pdf) assessed potential impacts of each alternative for Indian Head as well as three other military installations — Quantico, Blossom Point, and Dahlgren and concluded that none of the alternatives would have any direct impact on any of the facilities and the only indirect effects would be minor beneficial ones, such as outreach and education programs (Table 24, page 127, et seq).
If the information in the article is factual and reflects the official Navy position, then there is a serious disconnect between NOAA and the Department of Defense and the two need to get together.