In One State, It's Illegal to Plan for a Nuclear Attack

Washington state passed the law to celebrate end of Cold War
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2017 4:39 PM CDT
There's no plan to deal with a nuclear attack in Seattle because in Washington State it's illegal to make such a plan.   (Getty Images/chinaface)

(Newser) – "Our area will be in the forefront of any nuclear exchange, whether it involves North Korea, China, or Russia," a Seattle-area anti-nuclear activist tells the Los Angeles Times. About 20 miles west of Seattle is Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US in the form of eight ballistic-missile submarines. Couple that with North Korean nuclear advancements and threats, and Seattleites are on edge, with reports of "nuclear nightmares" and real estate ads touting homes with bomb shelters. And that's without most residents knowing that Washington state has no plan for dealing with a nuclear attack—because it's illegal to make one.

A 1984 law prohibits Washington state's emergency plans from including "preparation for emergency evacuation or relocation of residents in anticipation of nuclear attack." It wasn't always that way. KIRO reports the state had a nuclear-attack plan—including bunkers inside Seattle bridges—in place in the 1950s and 1960s. Then the 1984 law was passed to promote peace in the wake of the Cold War. Now, state Sen. Mark Miloscia tells KING the law is "silly" and irresponsible. He says it “puts like a big stop order on any sort of planning we have to do to prepare for the unthinkable.” Miloscia has introduced a bill to repeal the old law, but—unfortunately for nuke-nervous Seattleites—it won't be considered until January. (Read more Washington state stories.)

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