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Newport Groups File Lawsuit Against Coast Guard

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Newport's search and rescue Coast Guard air facility is scheduled to cease operations December 15th. Tuesday morning, four groups filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Eugene to try to stop the closure.

In the lawsuit, the Newport Fishermen's Wives, along with the City of Newport, Lincoln County, and the Port of Newport allege the Coast Guard failed to follow the legal process required to decommission a facility. They claim the Coast Guard has not adequately assessed impacts to public and environmental safety. Ginny Goblirsch is with the Newport Fishermen's Wives.

Goblirsch "We felt we had no choice but to file suit and get an injunction to stop the closure so that we could work with the Coast Guard and Congress to address the issue, and that is the whole issue of search and rescue in cold water."

Goblirsch says the Coast Guard's own research shows they have no more than 45 minutes to get an individual out of cold water before they die. If the Newport air facility is closed, the closest rescue helicopter will be 60 minutes away, in Astoria. The decision to declare an injunction to stop the closure now rests with District Court Judge Michael McShane.

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.
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