Tuesday, March 2, 2010

T Minus 60 and Counting...

NOPE supporters and other welcome visitors to our blog (including distinguished members of the Department of Navy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Congress and New Jersey legislature, among others) already notice the snarky ticking time bomb graphic to the left, but two days into March we would have expected some kind of commentary from the Navy in Washington on its plan to move forward with civilian housing at NWS Earle (i.e. whether it will still happen as planned or the parties are discussing a buyout).

That the DoN's silence is deafening is all the more impetus for NOPE to intensify its objections heading toward the April 30, 2010, expiration of the military-use phase of the Laurelwood pact and transition to the civilian-use phase thru 2040. This means that NOPE's thousands of area supporters need to be "at the ready" to take action in the next 60 days, so stay tuned here and with your direct NOPE contacts for more details.

In the meantime, Fulton Wilcox reviewed the bid documents on the NWS Earle security guard contract up for bids and notes "there is no provision for security Laurelwood or covering the gate openings/closings for trains or vehicles crossing the proposed access road." (We remind readers that the proposed 1.7-mile unimpeded access road to Laurelwood from just south of the main access gate on Rt. 34 will cross at least one - maybe two - rail lines inside of Earle over which the Navy transports high-powered munitions and other things that go "boom" to ships at Earle's waterfront base off Rt. 36.)

As civilians, we are unclear how to interpret this discovery, but it suggests that either the winning bidder a) will have no role in securing NWS Earle from a new civilian town inside the base, or b) has no clue that it will be responsible for supplementing the DoN's responsibility to police Laurelwood and the new, proposed unimpeded access road, in addition to its primary objective of augmenting base-force protection. We will review whether to contact the contract bidders to alert them to these possibilities.

In the meantime, NOPE will continue to monitor the contract security guard situation as part of our preparations for the 60-day countdown to proposed civilian housing at NWS Earle. Much like the temperatures outside, things will be heating up very quickly for NOPE thru April.

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