Skip to comments.Navy to Shut Down Sub Radio Transmitters
Posted on 09/26/2004 4:05:33 PM PDT by 68skylark
WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) -- With terrorism the new global threat, a network of radio antennas that let the Navy maintain secure communications with submarines at sea has become yet another Cold War relic.
On Thursday, the Navy will shut off its extremely low frequency (ELF) radio transmitters in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, saying the 15-year-old system, first proposed in the 1960s, is outdated and no longer needed. The Navy now will use 12 ``very low frequency'' transmitters located worldwide.
For years, peace activists and environmentalists targeted the two huge transmitters in the Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake and in Upper Michigan's Escanaba State Forest. Each transmitter consists of an antenna strung on 600 40-foot poles across dozens of miles of forest.
Critics contended that the system was for use during a first-strike nuclear attack, and that the radio waves could cause health and environmental problems. Demonstrations led to hundreds of arrests, some for trespassing onto the site and sawing down poles.
Steven Davis, spokesman for the Navy's Space and Navy Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, said the Navy spent about $25 million on research and studies into public and environmental safety and found no problems.
But Sen. Russ Feingold, who has wanted to shut down ELF since 1993, said the Navy had a ``bunker mentality'' in trying to pretend the facility had a purpose.
``I do think the war on terror had something to do with this,'' Feingold said. ``I think people are finally realizing we need to equip our military and everything we do toward the real threats.''
Davis said closing ELF comes after a ``re-evaluation'' of the Navy's priorities.
``Even as recently as three years ago, the world has changed considerably,'' he said.
The Navy spent $13 million a year to run both ELF transmitters, Davis said. He said the government has not yet determined the cost of dismantling the sites, which could take up to three years.
Some residents said they were concerned about the loss of jobs. Each site has one Navy worker and 27 civilian contractors, according to Davis.
``It is definitely going to hurt the economy,'' said Roger Anderson, co-owner of Deb's Y-Go-By, a bar, grill and bait shop in Clam Lake, a quiet tourist wayside about 40 miles from Lake Superior.
``Eventually, we knew this was going to be obsolete. It is just coming a little sooner than we thought,'' Anderson said. ``Maybe they need the money for the Iraq war or the war on terrorism.''
The Navy began using the $400 million system in 1989. The project was nearly killed in the late 1970s but was revived by President Reagan in his plan to modernize strategic defenses.
The project was scaled down considerably from the original 1960s plan, which included a grid of 6,200 miles of buried cable and 100 transmitters that would withstand a nuclear war.
Jerry Holter, 74, who lives about a mile from the Wisconsin transmitter, said he believes Project ELF served its purpose.
``It was a great deterrent to nuclear war against the United States. When we were in the Cold War, the Russians knew that if they hit us we could hit back twice as bad,'' he said. ``So it kept them in tow. Without the system, we were left out in the cold. We needed ELF.''
For years, peace activists and environmentalists targeted the two huge transmitters in the Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake and in Upper Michigan's Escanaba State Forest.
This should help the presdient win the votes of environmental wackos -- right?
I think it'd be great to shut down the gigantic ones that Bush has rammed through.
That is a dream. The cry would be that the programs just haven't been shown enough love and imagination yet. Imagine if the Navy used that argument to keep faulty equipment!
Hardly... because somehow they'll justify blaming Bush for initiating the program 40 years before he became President.
That's fine with me. I don't really care if we shut down old ones or new ones, big ones or small ones. The more we shut down the better.
May I suggest:
The Department of Education
The Legal Services "Corporation"
The National Endowment for the Arts
Housing and Urban Development
Just for starters?
If you ask me, the parties who oppose this technology are a damned good reason to KEEP the technology in place! The so-called "peace activists" are nothing but communist sympathizers who seek to leave the free world weak and our enemies strong. And as for the envirowhackos, they're the reason why we're so dependent on Arab oil. If we were unencumbered by their neo-socialist lunacy, we'd be drilling offshore and in the ANWR without complication and would have enough oil to lay down the law on the Arab Street without fear of oil-based reprisals.
Actually they were secretly communicating with whales.
The article says:
"The Navy spent $13 million a year to run both ELF transmitters"
I'd love to compare that to what Congresscritters shell out anually for franking privileges!
Served it's MOST important purpose? Sure as hell did. Spending $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ in WISCONSIN!!!!!!! Oops! Not suppose to look at it that way, are we?
Demonstrations led to hundreds of arrests, some for trespassing onto the site and sawing down poles.
Someone should have hit the transmit button when they were cutting the poles.
My what dingbats we have in this country!
We are not in a first nuclear strike era??
Amen, brother! You're preaching to the chior.
LOL! Or maybe it's with space aliens. Didn't I see an X-Files episode like that?
Nah, it was for whales...
We have developed a new and more efficient means for these communictions.
Big Antenna Ping
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