Monday, October 16, 2006

Target Practice

The prospect of the United States Coast Guard tasked with patrolling the Great Lakes arming itself more heavily is not of concern to me. I am actually surprised to learn that a treaty with Canada heretofore prevented them from doing so. I am all for our beloved Coasties having the tools to defend and protect us.

The prospect of having live firing exercises on the Great Lakes bothers me on so many levels -- Boater Safety – Tourism -- The Environment – Money (-- and I’m sure I am missing something else here).

What about the environmental impact of all that lead, the disruption of ecosystems? What about the salmon, smelt, and other fish? And, will there be spent uranium shells?

What about the casual boaters? What about the tourists? What about the scuba divers? Will Great Lakes shipwrecks be affected? What about the freighters?

And, at a time when the Bush tax cuts and the Iraq War has caused a shrinking of the U.S. budget for government programs for the poor and elderly, soldiers’ pay and benefits, veteran benefits, and Homeland Security – how can the Coast Guard pay for all the extra expenses involved in this venture? There is no doubt that each live firing exercise will entail additional personnel to crew “chase boats” to keep the firing range free of tourists and Great Lakes boaters. How many new swift boats will they need? How much more fuel will they need?

Just imagine the time and money that our Do-Nothing Congress will waste as numerous House and Senate leaders piss and moan and exclaim “Not in our backyard!” Such drama! And, never mind the protests from our Canadian cousins with their parallel concerns? Will we once again assert the neo-American principle of “If you’re not with us, you’re agin’ us” and say “f*@k you Canada”?

Oh, and by the way, in Rovian/Orwellian Bush-Speak, the live firing target ranges are called “Safety Zones”. God – my head hurts!!!!!

Yes, we all learned that target ranges are controversial and few and far between – but, I must also protest and exclaim,



A public hearing is scheduled in Marysville? October 18th? I do not know where or when.


The Coast Guard hearing is scheduled for October 19 -- at Crystal Gardens, 1200 Gratiot Blvd., Marysville, Michigan.

Other hearings are listed here.


Prior to the start of each public meeting , Coast Guard officials will conduct an open house from 4 pm to 5:30 pm (local) to answer questions and provide background information.

The public meetings are scheduled for 5:30 pm to 8 pm (local) at each location. After a brief statement by Coast Guard officials, the public can provide comment. In accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, the public meeting is not a question and answer format, but rather an opportunity for the public to have their comments recorded and formally entered into the docket for consideration. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Introduction of the proposed zones and the need to train on the Great Lakes
  • How the Coast Guard determined locations of the zones
  • Scheduling and frequency of training in the zones
  • Notification procedures
  • Safety procedures
  • Weapons and munitions
  • Environmental risk assessment overview

Members of the public who are unable to attend the public meetings may still submit comments to the Docket Management Facility web site at Docket #25767.

Further information on the safety zones can be found at:

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