Coupeville, WA – A Delegation from Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) traveled to
Washington, DC last week to meet with policy-makers about the EA-18G Growler. A delegation of representatives from COER met with senators and representatives as well as the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Pentagon, the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “All of our meetings were positive and substantive,” stated COER’s Ken Pickard. “It was a great trip for us and we’ll soon be announcing a public meeting to report on our progress,” he said.
The EA-18G is causing noise concerns in communities across the region (throughout Island, Jefferson, Skagit and San Juan counties) and across the United States, such as the Florida Keys, and Virginia Beach. “Because the Navy chose to build the EA-18G Growler without any noise mitigation features, over the objections of their own auditors, it is part of a growing military noise problem. If tinnitus and hearing loss were broken out and compensated individually, the Department of Veterans Affairs would pay more than $2 billion a year to veterans for these two injuries alone, according to the Department of Defense. The high noise levels of this aircraft are impacting civilian communities and have created a public health issue,” stated COER’s Maryon Attwood.
According to Admiral Greenert, the Navy’s Asian Pivot will bring more jets, boats, personnel and live firing and sonar testing to Puget Sound by 2020. This plan is seen by many as out of balance with the region’s civilian interests in highly populated western Washington & Puget Sound. There are 68 state parks and 8 national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and public lands that border Puget Sound. These assets help drive approximately $9.5 billion in travel spending, including 88,000 tourist-related jobs that bring $3 billion in income to the region.
“The Growler is a poor fit for Whidbey Island and Puget Sound,” concluded COER’s Michael Monson.
COER is working to close the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville and remove the EA-18 G Growler from Puget Sound. COER’s mission is to protect the health and welfare of the inhabitants of the region, including the marine, migratory and endangered species, and preserve the historic northwest communities being threatened by military jet training flights.
For more information about Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER), refer to their website at http://citizensofebeysreserve.com.