Is Navy Munitions Depot in Washington a Danger to the Public? Don’t Ask

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Glen Milner of Lake Forest Park, Washington, has been trying for eight years to find out if the U.S. Navy’s largest munitions depot on the West Coast is a threat to nearby communities.
But the Navy has refused to turn over the information Milner is seeking about Naval Magazine Indian Island, claiming the data needs to remain secret, even though it is unclassified. Indian Island, which is located at the mouth of Puget Sound, handles munitions from all branches of the military.
Beginning in 2003, Milner began asking the Navy how far apart munitions were stored from one another, for the purpose of preventing a chain reaction from an explosion that might endanger the nearby town of Port Townsend.
The engineer also has sought information about the Navy’s emergency response plan for the depot, if something were to go wrong.
Milner first tried filing Freedom of Information Act requests. When the Navy rejected those, he took the service to court, and won a partial victory before the U.S. Supreme Court.
But he still hasn’t received the data, and now the Navy’s supporters in Congress are trying to pass legislation that would allow the service to never give Milner or others the information.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Does Navy Depot Pose a Danger to Public? (by Kyung M. Song, Seattle Times)


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