Unproved Osprey on Kauai

SUBHEAD: The Marines accident plagued new helicopter will darken our skies and sister island Kaula.  

By Juan Wilson on 21 August 2012 for Island Breath -  
Image above: An April crash of an Osprey V-22, that killed two Marines in Morocco, was blamed on pilot error. From (http://rpdefense.over-blog.com/article-morocco-usmc-mv-22-osprey-crash-due-to-pilot-error-109197905.html).  

[Author's note: Kaula island is south west of Niihau and is part of Kauai County. It was once a way point for traditional Hawaiian navigators heading to the northwest Hawaiian Islands. If the Osprey comes, will it be safe to navigate traditionally in the future? Moreover, it is now occupied by many animal plant species who will be targeted by US Marines as collateral damage. Didn't we learn anything from the disaster of Navy bombardment of Kahoolawe?]

The westside of Kauai is where Kauai goes to do bad things that make some people rich and some people more comfortable.
  • We have Port Allen with barges of petroleum delivered to a fuel farm as to well as a diesel powered electrical generating station that supplies 80% the island's juice. Hey folks from Hanalei, would you like a noisy power station in your bay to spread some of the load?
  • We have the corn seed companies DOW Agroscience, Syngenta, Dupont Pioneer, and Monsanto Dekalb stirring up dust and poison that carries into our schools and homes with the constant threat of a GMO accident going wrong. Hey, Wailua Heights would you like a Pioneer field of GMO corn field full of pesticides upwind of you?
  • We have the Kekaha Landfill as the depository for all the garbage and junk on the island. It sits adjacent to the ocean and full of toxins and chemicals just waiting for the next hurricane or tsunami to drag it across our reefs. Hey, Kilauea, thanks so much for the biohazard deliveries of dioxen and arsenic?
  • We have the Pacific Missile Range Facility and all it entails. Dangerous and unhealthy activities on land, in the sea and in the air. We just got through hosting RimPac 2012.
Now bad things are going to be turned up another notch. The US Marines are coming. From Joan Conrow's Kauai Eclectic (http://kauaieclectic.blogspot.com/2012/08/thesky-was-bed-of-smoldering-coals.html):
In case you hadn't heard, the military's crash-prone Osprey helicopters — and their entourage of some 1,000 Marines — are coming to Hawaii. But Kaneohe isn't the only place that will get to enjoy the ear-splitting, peace-shattering noise. They plan to fly them over here at PMRF, too, using Kaula as a live-fire target. Gee, I hadn't realized the poor nesting seabirds there had declared war on the U.S. — not that that's a prerequisite for American aggression.
From Hawaii News Now (http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/19290479/osprey-helicopter-heading-to-hawaii):

One of the military's newest and perhaps most controversial helicopters is heading to Hawaii and Kaneohe residents are concerned over the noise and environmental impact.
By 2014 windward residents will see as many as two dozen MV-22 Osprey's flying around Kaneohe Bay.
The Osprey has been cleared to come to Hawaii. The tilt rotor Osprey takes off and lands like a helicopter but can fly like a plane. However it's had its troubles.
The fleet was grounded in 2000 after two fatal crashes killed 23 people. Two months ago one crashed in Florida injuring five. Four months ago a crash in Morocco killed two Marines.
Still the Marines maintain safety isn't a problem.
"These aircraft are safer than any aircraft we've everv had," said Capt. Derek George, Director of Environmental Compliance MCBH.
Then there are the noise concerns. Windward residents have complained to lawmakers about all the flying.
"In terms of noise we really need to make sure it does stay at a reasonable level. I live near the base and we do hear it at night. It's something I've heard throughout my life living near the base," said State Senator Jill Tokuda, (D) Kaneohe, Kailua.=
The Marines say the Osprey will fly the same hours as other aircraft which is 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and on occasion to midnight. But training will mostly be over the ocean, not over neighborhoods. And they maintain it's not going to be much louder than what's been flying around the base since before World War II.
"As far as the noise is concerned the noise of the MV22 is very comparable to the noise of the CH 53's we have now," said Capt. George.
"The noise factor between the Osprey and other aircraft flying around here, there is going to be no difference," said Lt. Col. Armando Espinoza, Marine Corp Air Station Operations Air Field Operation Officer.
"It's not really noise, its training. These guys are fighting for our country, risking their lives. As a veteran I say that's the sound of freedom," said State Representative Ken Ito, (D) Kaneohe, Heeia, Haiku Valley.
In addition to the Osprey, 15 Cobra and 12 Huey helicopters will also be stationed in Hawaii. Some are already here in Kaneohe.
The Marines say the final environmental impact statement says the aircraft will not affect the ocean or wildlife. However some historic buildings on base will be demolished or renovated in order to make room for the 1,000 new military personnel that will be coming in with all the aircrafts.
To read the final environmental impact, the signed record of decision and other related documents click here (http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/mv22h1eis/documents.html).

 Image above: Figure 3 map from report below identifying primary bases to be used by Marines and their Osprey V-22s.

 From Environmental Impact Statement for Basing of MV-22 and H-1 Aircraft in Support of III Marine Expeditionary Force Elements in Hawai‘i (http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/documents/fact_sheet_2010-08-05.pdf)
Preliminary alternatives were developed to meet specific requirements. They vary by development footprints, layouts, and locations for aviation fa- cilities at MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay. The EIS will also evaluate a no-action alternative. Except for No Action, the alternatives involve construction of aviation facilities at MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, landing zone improvements at selected sites such as Marine Corps Training Area Bellows (Bellows) in Waimānalo and Molokai Training Support Fa- cility, and training and readiness operations by the VMM and HMLA squadrons at various training facilities statewide that are currently used by the Marine Corps (Figures 2 and 3). In addition to MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay and Bellows, VMM and HMLA squadrons may train at Wheeler Army Air- field, Dillingham Airfield, and various U.S. Army training areas on O‘ahu; Pōhakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawai‘i; Moloka‘i Training Sup- port Facility and Kalaupapa Airfield on Moloka‘i; and the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i.

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