The Hidden Costs of NASWI - Whidbey Island

COER has paved the way for other groups throughout the region and on Whidbey Island.

We take pride in our efforts that have supported emerging groups to challenge the Navy’s new and extensive militarization of our communities in Puget Sound: Quiet Skies of Lopez, STOP and POP in the Olympics, the Coupeville Community Allies, the Sustainable Economic Collaborative, The Whidbey Water Keepers, and the Pacific West Coast Alliance, now made up of eleven groups throughout Puget Sound.

We feel validated by The National Park Service that did a six-week Acoustic Study over the Reserve that supported COER’s two independent Noise Studies of real sound in real locations in Central Whidbey. Civilian societies require active citizens to maintain their freedoms.

In 2016, a diverse group of residents of Island County, Washington, with both civilian and military backgrounds, came together to investigate the opportunities and obstacles to building a thriving, just, and sustainable local economy.

They understood that economies like Island County’s that depend on a single large employer—in their case, the US Navy—appear to be strong but actually are quite vulnerable to forces beyond their control. Previous published works had focused on gross wages paid by the Navy, but many other questions were not being asked:

  1. How much of the Navy’s activity was flowing back into the local economy through sales and property taxes, and through purchasing from local suppliers?
  2. What kinds of burdens was the Navy placing on taxpayer-supported services and infrastructure, including schools?
  3. How were existing Navy programs and proposed expansions affecting local health and property values?

To read Invisible Costs by Michael Shuman, find the report by the SEC at: http://sustainable-economy-collaborative.com.


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Join COER Response - Reject Navy DEIS

Your Action Is Requested… Join our Response to the Navy’s DEIS 

COER will be filing its comprehensive response to the Navy’s additional Growler DEIS, including voluminous scientific studies and reviews, in the next few days.  A summary of our comments and points for anyone to review is available below.

Anyone who wants to attach their name as a co-respondent to COER’s response is welcome and encouraged to do so. If you want your name included with COER’s response, simply send us an email authorizing COER to do so no later than this Friday, February 17, 2017. 

The more names attached to COER’s response, the better. 

Our attorney has advised that by adding names, each person added would be able to be a party to any lawsuit based on all of COER’s comments as well as any they may have individually filed. 

Please send your name, address and email to: mbrabanski29@comcast.net by Feb 17th.

Thank you,

COER’s Board of Directors

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Helen Price Johnson Votes for sanity, Rick Hannold and Jill Johnson try to punish Coupeville

Helen Price Johnson, County Commissioner for Central and South Whidbey

An article from the Whidbey News-Times – the original link is HERE: http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/commissioners-deny-grant-calling-coupeville-anti-navy/

Head over to the Whidbey News Times online and let them know your thoughts on this article. Thanks WNT!

In a move highlighting growing tension between North and Central Whidbey, two Island County commissioners are refusing to approve a grant for a community greens project in Coupeville because they believe the community is anti-Navy.

Commissioners Rick Hannold and Jill Johnson, whose districts are in North Whidbey, said they took offense to a series of actions by the Town of Coupeville and Central Whidbey citizens in recent months.

The last straw, they said, was a Coupeville council workshop last week in which council members spoke bluntly about their concerns with the Navy’s plans to increase the number of EA-18G Growlers that conduct touch-and-go landings at the Outlying Field outside of town.

“IT’S A POOR use of tax dollars to support a town that is hostile toward the economic driver of the county,” Hannold told a Whidbey News-Times reporter, pointing out that the funding for the grant comes from sales taxes generated largely because of the presence of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on the north end of the island.

Johnson doesn’t deny that her decision was political, nor that it will increase the acrimony between Oak Harbor and Coupeville, but she blames Coupeville for starting it. “When you punch someone in the face,” she said, “I don’t think you should be offended when you are punched back.”

Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, whose district covers South and Central Whidbey, argued against the decision.

“Denying access to local economic development funds shouldn’t be used as a tool to punish people who may have a different perspective on a federal issue,” Price Johnson said, adding that decisions regarding two completely separate issues should be kept separate.

COUPEVILLE MAYOR Molly Hughes said she is shocked by the action.

“I feel it’s inappropriate to mix their personal feelings about one subject with a funding decision in a completely different matter,” she said, adding that she may look into taking legal action.

It’s inaccurate to label an entire community as “anti-Navy” just because some citizens and leaders asked questions and expressed concerns, Hughes said, noting that the two commissioners never met with her or council members to discuss the issue.

The plan for the community green includes the addition of a public bathroom, lighting, increased parking and other improvements to a 3.9-acre open space in the center of town.

The town applied for a $600,000 grant from the rural county economic development funds.

Under the program, the state credits the county back 0.09 in state sales tax. The funds are administered by the county commissioners.

THE COMMUNITY GREENS project was approved by an economic development group that reviewed grant applications as well as the Council of Governments. Hughes said the project received nothing but positive comments.

But Hannold and Johnson put the kibosh on the town’s application Wednesday.

“I’m not turning the cheek anymore on something that matters this much,” Johnson told the News-Times.

Convergence of two Navy-related issues late last year precipitated the recent focus on the Navy and its impact on surrounding communities.

First, the Navy released a draft Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, on plans to add 35 or 36 Growlers stationed at NAS Whidbey. That would translate to a 47 percent increase in operation, including aircraft carrier landing practice at Outlying Field Coupeville.

TWO CITIZEN groups in Coupeville raised concerns about the increase in jet noise. One group, Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, sued the Navy to require an EIS and publicly protested Growler noise.

A new group, Coupeville Community Allies, stated it isn’t anti-Navy and is focused on educating the community about the draft EIS.

Both groups — as well as the Navy — encouraged citizens to submit comments about the EIS to the Navy during the ongoing comment period.

The town hired a couple of professionals to evaluate the draft EIS and prepare comments. The council discussed the draft comments last week.

Some council members expressed concerns about how an increase in noise will impact the way of life in the rural landscape, as well as the town’s tourism and agrarian economy.

A draft letter states that a five- or six-fold increase in jet operations “is inconsistent and not tolerable to everything we have worked for in Coupeville and Central Whidbey.”

IN A SEPARATE issue, the Navy started testing drinking water wells near OLF Coupeville and the Ault Field base for a potentially harmful chemical that’s found in firefighting foam. The town conducted independent testing of wells that are near OLF Coupeville.

One of the chemicals was detected but at levels well below the lifetime health advisory level set by the EPA.

Hughes said she believes it would be irresponsible not do independent testing, but Hannold said the town could have just trusted the Navy’s results.

“They apparently don’t need the money,” he said of town officials. “They had money to do their own EIS, their own water tests and to double the pay of the mayor.”

THE STANCE on Coupeville taken by Johnson and Hannold has the potential for impacts beyond the town’s grant request.

Councilwoman Pat Powell is also the director of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, which has a history of partnering with the county and has received grants in the past through the county’s Conservation Futures Fund. The fact that Powell is part of the Coupeville council won’t be lost on him when grant applications come around again, Hannold said.

“I would be lying if I said it wouldn’t be in the back of my mind,” he said.

Letter to Editor: Growlers no Boon to Whidbey

This letter was sent to the South Whidbey Record, and since we don’t hear so often from the folks in the south of the island, we thought we’d share his excellent points.



Clinton man Steve Gutzmer wrote in a recent letter to the editor that the projected Navy influx to Whidbey is a boon. From his quiet armchair, drinking clean water, the patriotic concept of Navy fighters training on Whidbey sounds uplifting. I live in quiet Langley. Several of my friends in and around Coupeville live right under the Growler-buzzsaw flightpaths and it ain’t pretty.

Quiet-dwelling Gutzmer: “The Growler is much quieter than the Prowler.” Simply wrong. Even the Navy insists they are equal, yet downplays their huge “sound spectrum” difference. Reputable Wiley Labs asserts Growler “low frequency sound pressure levels” dwarf that of Prowlers. Translated: they “rumble your insides” (your house too). Many Coupevillians signed early mortgages, tolerated the Prowlers, but find Growlers a whole new animal. Sure, a jackhammer-volumed jet roar (100+ dB) at 200-400 feet over your roof loses its thrill 40-80 times a day, three times a week, nights included. Then it’s PTSD hell. (The Navy wants 100/day, four-plus days/week!) Frazzled, anxious, and sleepless with heart, blood pressure, and organ issues, their animals act weird, their children cower in adult laps, hands on ears. Not a “boon.”

Gutzmer: “then simply move.” There’s no “simply.” Flight-lane property values spiral downward; other properties (yours Mr. Gutzmer?) are dramatically up. Sell at a loss and move? Try it! Some are worse off; wells recently testing high in cancerous PFOS (fire foam) chemicals leached from a polluted well at Outlying Field Coupeville.

Gutzmer: “the Navy brings more students; increases tax base.” Reality: crowded Oak Harbor School District now has huge yearly deficits as military families on government land, buying at the commissary, pay miniscule local taxes. The Navy skimps on paying “compensation” to Oak Harbor. Navy “immigrants” use our infrastructure and public services supported by our taxes. Now Navy personnel crowding is already raising rents over much of the island.

Am I “Navy, go away?” No. “Be a better neighbor?” Yes. “Training flights elsewhere?” Yes. Suitable alternatives on vast Washington, California and Nevada Navy-owned lands are already used for overflow flights. The Navy knows it’s inserting a humongous training foot into a petite Whidbey shoe, at citizens’ expense. The very real risk factors for a catastrophic crash, don’t get me started on all the factors! Unsolved cockpit oxygen issues still haunt. Twenty-two Growlers and F-18E/F cousins have already crashed elsewhere. No boon, sir!



Elected Officials Request Navy to Extend DEIS Comment Period for Whidbey Island

NEWS RELEASE January 4, 2017

Contact: Cate Andrews (612) 306 -4800

Maryon Attwood (360) 6781414



Larsen, Murray, and Cantwell Join Citizen Organizations in Request for Navy to Extend Comment Period on Environmental Impact Statement


Congressman Rick Larsen, Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell cosigned a January 3, 2017 letter to Assistant Secretary of the Navy asking that he “extend the ongoing public comment period” on the Navy’s plans to increase EA-18G Growler jet operations on Whidbey Island.

The January 3 letter from the elected officials followed a December 20, 2016 New Release issued by a Coalition of citizen organizations calling for an extension of the Navy’s January 25, 2017 deadline for receiving public comments on its controversial expansion plans outlined in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The Navy’s DEIS proposes drastic increases in ‘Growler’ jet numbers and over-­‐all operations on Whidbey Island. Growler operations and their adverse environmental, economic and public health impacts have been the subject of litigation and the source of noise complaints from throughout the Puget Sound region.

COER and other coalition organizations, including Friends of the San

Juan’s, Concerned Island Citizens, Oak Harbor; Quiet Skies Coalition, Lopez Island, Protect the Olympic Peninsula, Save the Olympic Peninsula, North Olympic Group, Sierra Club; Protect the Olympic Peninsula, Whidbey Environmental Action Network, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Veterans for Peace requested an extension of the comment period.

On December 20, 2016 coalition members met with representatives of Governor Jay Inslee to request his support for an extension of the Navy’s deadline and to voice concerns over existing and planned adverse impacts of Growler operations over Whidbey Island, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Peninsula.

On December 23, Mayor Molly Hughes of Coupeville, where the Navy wants to conduct up to 65,000 Growler operations a year, became the first Whidbey Island public official to request an extension.

“Our organizations generated hundreds of calls, emails and letters to our public officials urging them to take this action,” said Cate Andrews of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER). “If the Navy grants this extension, it will be because citizens took the lead and the elected leaders followed, “she said. “We are still waiting on the Governor and other local politicians to express their much needed support for this extension,” she added.

According to COER’s attorney, the Navy’s 1,400 page document contains “highly complex technical analysis” that requires more time to review. This includes the Navy’s reliance on “complex computer modeling” instead of actual measurements to analyze the noise impacts of proposed increases in operations.

The attorney’s December 19 letter to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic stated that the request for an extension should also be granted due to the ongoing investigation of toxic contamination of private and public wells that supply drinking water, according to the attorney.

The Navy notified the owners of more than 100 private and public drinking wells of potential contamination on November 7, 2016. A growing number of public and private wells have been found contaminated with chemicals first discovered on Navy property. The Navy’s investigation is ongoing and an increasing number of residents are being told by the Navy not to drink or cook with their water.

Perfluorooctanoic Acid found in the their drinking water has been linked to kidney and testicular cancers, birth defects, damage to the immune system, heart and thyroid disease, and complications during pregnancy. EPA’s Science Advisory Board labeled it a likely human carcinogen.

“We appreciate the elected officials’ support for an extension,” said COER board member Maryon Attwood. “We hope they will consider speaking out against the harmful operations the Navy is conducting and is proposing in their Draft Environmental Statement.”

Here's what you can do to fight the Navy DEIS for Whidbey Island

Here’s what you can do to help—Be Heard!

Comment Deadline is February 24, 2017.

Here’s How in Five Easy Steps:

  1. Go to the Navy’s draft EIS comment page by copying and pasting into your browser: http://whidbeyeis.com/Comment.aspx
  2. Fill out the form (name, etc.). Under Agency/Organization put, “Abused Citizen of the USA” or something like it
  3. Cut and paste one comment from below into the comment box
  4. Hit Submit
  5. Repeat one comment at a time for as many or all of the comments below (Note: that the more individual comments on a given subject the more weight they must place on that concern or problem area of the draft EIS.)
Note: if you prefer to send written comments via the US mail, send them to:

EA-18G EIS Project Manager

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic

Attn: Code EV21/SS

6506 Hampton Blvd.

Norfolk, VA 23508


  1. The DEIS did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to judiciously examine off-Whidbey Island sites to conduct flight carrier land practice (FCLP).
  2. The annual Day-Night Noise Level (DNL) noise contours depicted in the DEIS are misleading and fallacious for two reasons: (1) inappropriate use of 365-day averaging rather busy-day averaging, and (2) holding up as scientifically valid an outdated, misleading, and scientifically invalidated DNL threshold for high noise annoyance.
  3. The DEIS claim that the JGL noise study was “flawed” is disingenuous and unsupportable, whereas in actuality the Wyle modeled noise levels have not been validated with on-site noise data.
  4. The DEIS misconstrued important finding of the National Park Service’s 2015 noise study at Ebey’s Landing Historic National Reserve and obfuscated forthright analysis of the impacts on visitor experience. That misconstruction has to be credibly revised to properly characterize the real impacts.
  5. Much like the tobacco industry did years ago, the DEIS selectively and reprehensively cites and relies on out-of-date medical research findings on impacts of noise on human health that are at odds with the overwhelming body of contemporary research. This obfuscation renders the DEIS findings incomplete and disingenuous and demands an honest, complete, forthright evaluation of the contemporary formal medical literature.
  6. The Navy has adopted standards that protect their personnel from health and hearing harm due to excessive noise, yet these standards were ignored by the DEIS for civilians exposed to the same or greater levels of noise. This DEIS needs to examine how many civilians would receive exposure doses that exceed the Navy’s defined “hazardous noise zone” threshold (i.e., an area where the 8-hour time-weighted average exceeds 84 dBA [or 140 dB peak sound pressure level, SPL, for impact or impulse noise] for more than 2 days in any month).
  7. Island County has unconscionably ignored the Navy’s 2005 AICUZ land-use directives for Outlying Field Coupeville, especially as reflected by construction permits issued in Noise Zone 2 areas, where the AICUZ stipulates no residences should occur, as well as other land uses. Whether due to the County’s willful intent to ignore or due to lack of Navy assertiveness, it aptly demonstrates the meaningless and ineffectiveness of the AICUZ and similar land-use provisions in the DEIS. Given the alternatives under consideration in the DEIS, the Navy should immediately advocate that the County place a moratorium on all construction permits not compatible with the 2005 AICUZ and DEIS land-use stipulations until the final EIS is approved.
  8. The two most dangerous aspects of flying are the approach, landing and takeoff — in other words most of the OLFC flight path. The risks are significant (a) because of unrestrained and major encroachment problems, (b) because OLFC is about 49,000 acres below and the runway about 3000 feet short of FCLP standard for Growlers, (c) because the pilots are mostly students flying the F-18 airframe which is 5.5 times more likely to crash than its EA-6B (Prowler) predecessor, and (d) FCLP operations occur at low elevations that increase likelihood of bird strikes exacerbated by the significant shoreline bird population. These risks cannot be mitigated other than by moving the FCLPs to a suitable 21st century off-Whidbey site.
  9. Environmental Justice analysis overlooked the fact that farm workers, gardeners, and recycle center workers are almost entirely composed of low-income and/or ethnic minorities, and because they must work outside, they are disproportionately affected by overhead Growler noise.
  10. Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been discovered in numerous wells adjacent to OLFC and are believed attributable to fire-retardant foam use at OLFC. The DEIS, however, dismissed addressing the related past, present, and future impacts and problems associated with PFAS, even though the EPA has set a Health Advisory that has been exceeded by 16-fold in some of the impacted wells. Leakage of PFAS in storage or their use in a crash event is a hugely relevant environmental impact that must be addressed. And the public must be given the opportunity to comment.
  11. The DEIS noise levels were based on about 30% of the proposed 8800 to 35,000+ operations at OLFC being conducted on Path 14. Since 2013, when the transition to Growlers was relatively complete, the highest use of Path 14 has been about 2 to 10% because, as base commander Captain Nortier explained Growlers are only rarely capable of using Path 14. The DEIS 30% use projection of path 14 greatly understates the DNL noise impacts for path 32 and overstates the impacts on Path 14. This mistake must be corrected.
  12. The DEIS fails to address the potential effects of sleep disturbance due to Growler overflights, despite the admission that there will be an increase in the “percent probability of awakening for all scenarios…”  While music torture is still permitted under US law, the United National Convention against Torture defines torture as “any act by which severe pain of suffering, whether physical or mental…”  Sleep disturbance results in serious physical and emotional symptoms such as cognitive impairment, impaired immune system, adverse birth outcomes, risk of heart disease, risk of diabetes, not mentioning the number of work hours/days lost from lack of sleep. The DEIS must forthrightly address the impacts of sleep disturbance on residences affected by OLFC night operations.
  13. The DEIS obfuscates the effects of FCLP jet noise on classroom interruptions by averaging interruptions with periods when jets are not practicing. The average understates interruption events compared with event frequency during FCLP sessions, which are as frequent as an interruption every 1-2 minutes. Interruptions of such frequency complicate teaching and thwart student concentration and break the focus of teacher and student. In addition the EPA states, “Noise can pose a serious threat to a child’s physical and psychological health, including learning and behavior,” but the DEIS has not recognized the contemporary research. These oversights and failings must be properly addressed and reanalyzed.
  14. The DEIS fails to address the effects of noise on hearing and tinnitus and consequential medical costs associated with hearing loss by stating that civilians would need to be exposed to noise emitted by the Growlers for 40 years before there is a permanent shift in hearing.  This defies all scientific and audiological evidence to the contrary, even by the US military itself.  Hearing loss and tinnitus are the MOST compensated injuries in the military and increasing annually (US Dept. of Veteran Affairs.) That and failure to address the effects of impact or sudden noise must be more fully delineated.
  15. The DEIS fails to adequately address the effects of high noise levels during pregnancy that provoke significantly higher risk for smaller newborns, gestational hypertension, cognitive abnormalities, and permanent hearing loss.

Navy Contaminated Coupeville Water


Navy Contaminates Coupeville Wells from Navy OLF Training Site

Residents Warned Against Drinking, Preparing Food with Their Water


The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

At least two property owners, some of the first who took the Navy up on its offer to have their water wells tested, were notified by phone that their water contained toxic chemicals above EPA Health Advisory Levels.

The Navy’s testing of private and public water wells followed the October 11 discovery of toxic chemicals in an OLF drinking water well that signaled contamination of the underlying aquifer. The fear that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property prompted a November 7 letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners in a one mile radius.

Some wells serve multiple properties.

The Town of Coupeville had its two water supply wells independently tested for three of the six chemicals that were found beneath the OLF. The Town’s well field located closest to the OLF was found contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) a level close to, but not above the EPA’s Health Advisory Level. The other two chemicals, PFOS and PFBS, were not detected at the levels they were tested for.

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) has been linked to kidney and testicular cancers, birth defects, damage to the immune system, heart and thyroid disease, and complications during pregnancy. EPA’s Science Advisory Board labeled it a likely human carcinogen. Although the Navy describes the amounts found as “trace”, PFOA is hazardous in tiny doses because it accumulates in the body and takes years to excrete.

Last week, one of what may end up being many families was told by the Navy that PFOA was found in their drinking water at more than six times the EPA’s Health Advisory Level.

A neighbor’s well was also found to be contaminated and the family warned against using their water for drinking or cooking. With the Navy’s phone call came the realization that family members had been drinking a likely human carcinogen known to accumulate in the body, and have been doing so for an unknown period of time.

The Navy isn’t saying how many of the privately owned wells have shown contamination thus far. However, the distance from the OLF to the private wells showing contamination, suggests that closer wells may also be contaminated.

The Navy notifies well owners by phone and then delivers bottled water to their homes if the levels of contamination are above the EPA’s Health Advisory Levels. The Navy says it will do nothing if contaminates are found below those levels. Well owners whose water has been tested by the Navy have yet to received complete copies of the laboratory reports.

“The Navy’s approach to this pollution problem is no different than that of any big industrial polluter seeking to avoid criticism, reduce liability, and continue business-as-usual,” said Rick Abraham, an environmental consultant working with Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER). “They downplay the seriousness of the problem, drag out investigations, and keep the public in the dark,” he said.

Abraham was previously involved in PFOA investigations on behalf of industrial workers and communities in at least five states.

The Navy’s Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) containing PFOA and/or PFOS is the suspected source of the contamination. The United States, Canada, European Union, Australia, and Japan have banned new production of this fire fighting foam. However, the Navy has stockpiled large amounts for use in fighting fires until it finds a satisfactory substitute. The fire trucks sitting at the OLF and main base in Oak Harbor still have PFOA and PFOS containing AFFF.

The Navy has refused to identify the AFFF brands or formulations to be used in event of an accident, and will only say that they don’t contain “as much” of the dangerous chemicals as they once did.

According to the Navy, historical crash sites and fire training areas are the most likely sources of PFAS contamination at its installations. However, the Navy has yet to investigate the site of a 1982 crash site at the OLF. It claims to be unsure of the crash location and that investigating the site is not a priority.

COER is aware of at least one resident who witnessed the crash and the firefighting trucks at the scene of the still burning jet. The site was not considered in the Navy’s investigation plans.

The Navy claims to have no record of AFFF being used at the OLF, even though a resident recalls seeing the spreading foam on the OLF runway and the washing of fire trucks at OLF after fire fighting training. The Navy has held two large public informational meetings but has made no effort to seek such information from area residents.

The Navy has also kept its plans for investigating contamination at the OLF from the public. The Navy’s “draft” Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) was provided to the EPA and Island County Public Health. All have refused to make the plan public, claiming that “draft” status of plan exempts it from open records laws.

“The people most at risk have been kept in the dark and denied meaningful input,” said Abraham. “The Navy’s failure to consider the potential sources of the contamination raises questions about the adequacy of the investigation,” he added.

“The last thing the Navy wants to do is draw attention to an accident that highlights the risks posed by thousands of touch-and-go ‘Growler’ jet training operations at the OLF,” said Maryon Atwood, a COER board member whose home is near the OLF.

The Navy just released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement wherein it seeks to increase touch-and-go operations Growler jet operations at the OLF up to 35,000 a year, almost a six-fold increase over current levels. “Increasing operations will increase the risk of accidents and the threat to our drinking water,” said Atwood. “This is in addition to increasing noise levels that already exceed community guidelines established by the EPA, OSHA, the State of Washington and the World Health Organization,” she added.

If private and public wells are shown to contain PFOA or PFOS above the EPA’s Health Advisory Level of 70 parts per trillion, either individually or combined, the Navy says it will provide alternative water. According to a number of health experts, the levels deemed to be acceptable by the EPA are set far too high and not adequately protective.

Navy and Air Force sites around the country have been identified as sources of PFAS contamination with the cost of remediation and providing alternate water running into the tens of millions of dollars.

COER is sponsoring a public meeting to discuss the contamination at OLF on Thursday, December 15 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship, 180 Parker Road, in Coupeville.

CitizensoftheEbeysReserve2@gmail.com, P.O. Box 202, Coupeville, WA 9823

Respond to the Navy DEIS

Navy’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Comments & Talking Points

  • The Navy’s DEIS does not adequately address the true environmental and public health consequences of planned Growler increases.

  • Toxic Noise: The Navy wants to move ALL touch-and go Growler operations to the OLF. Operations would be increased up to 35,000 a year! The DEIS misrepresents the impacts of Growler noise. No measurements of noise were taken in communities – only computer modeling that averaged periods of noise with long periods of silence.
  • Health harms: The DEIS ignores overwhelming scientific and medical evidence of harms caused by hazardous Growler noise. Growler noise has already created what one health expert labeled a “public health emergency that is literally killing people…”
  • Children and Education: The DEIS states that increased Growler operations will cause “between 45-55 disruptions per HOUR in the Coupeville Schools”. And, children may experience some cognitive damage due to increased noise. 
  • Property Values: Options being considered by the Navy would subject properties from Engle Road and western Coupeville east to Saratoga Passage and from Penn Cove on the north to Puget Sound to inclusion in an Accident Protection Zone (APZ) 1 or 2. Property values will plummet. Even worse, all those APZ properties and many more beyond are in a Noise Zone 2 area, within which Island County may deny residential development.
  • Drinking Water Pollution Coupeville’s water supply well next to the OLF is contaminated with the Navy’s toxic chemicals at concerning levels. An accident at the OLF could cause more contamination. Increasing operations by Navy Growlers will increases the threat to Coupeville’s drinking water.
  • Electronic Warfare: Nowhere do any Navy NEPA documents from the last 7 years discuss the risk of exposure to chronic downward-directed radiation from weaponized forms of directed energy aboard Growlers, to civilians, wildlife and habitat. OLF has a stationary electromagnetic emitter currently in use. Why is any mention or discussion of risks from exposure to electromagnetic radiation from Navy jets completely missing from all discussions of potential impacts?

The draft EIS does not comply with mandatory NEPA requirements to fully analyze off-Whidbey training options (alternatives) for conducting touch and go practice. in a report of 1500 pages (over the NRPA recommended 300 pages) the Navy has submitted an unreadable document short on data and facts.

You can make your comments at the Navy’s public meeting or submit them by email before January 25. Fill out the comment form at http://www.whidbeyeis.com.

To find out more about the threat to our community and what you can do visit: http://citizensofebeysreserve.com

What can YOU do right now?

Submit comments on the EIS and send a copy to our group by emailing us at coupevillecommunityallies@gmail.com You may submit comments more than once.

There are TWO ways to provide comments:

  1. Mail your comments to: EA-18G EIS Project Manager, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic – Attn: Code EV21/SS, 6506 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23508
  2. Provide written comments using the EIS form on this website

Contact Your Representatives

Governor Jay Inslee

Office of the Governor PO Box 40002 Olympia, WA 98502-0002

Call (360) 902-4111, Fax (360) 753-4110


Senator Patty Murray                                     

Phone: (202) 224-2621 Fax: (202) 224-0238 Toll Free: (866) 481-9186

Seattle Office: 2988 Jackson Federal Building 915 2nd Avenue Seattle, WA 98174

Phone: (206) 553-5545 Toll Free: (866) 481-9186 Fax: (206) 553-0891


Senator Maria Cantwell

Phone: (202) 224-3441 FaxL202) 228-0514

Regional Office: 2930 Wetmore Ave., #9B Everett, WA 98201

Phone: (425) 303-0114 Fax: (425) 303-8351


Congressperson Rick Larsen

Bellingham Office: 119 North Commercial Street Suite 1350, Bellingham, WA 98225

Everett Office: Wall Street Building, 2930 Wetmore Ave, Suite 9F

Email: rick.larsen@mail.house.gov, Phone: (800) 562-1385


Island County Commissioners

Richard Hannold – Phone: (360) 679-7354 Email: district3@co.island.wa.us

Helen Price Johnson, Office Phone: (360) 679-7354, Email: district1@co.island.wa.us

Jill Johnson, Office phone: (360) 679-7354, Email: district2@co.island.wa.us

COER'S position on Navy DEIS

COER’s Position on the Navy’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

 The Navy’s DEIS ignores the harmful consequences of Growler operations taking place. It does not address the true environmental and public health consequences of planned Growler increases.  The DEIS is flawed by design and prepared in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The Navy should relocate touch-and-go Growler training from Whidbey Island to another less populated and environmentally sensitive location.

On COER’s position concerning the DEIS: we are reviewing the DEIS and will prepare detailed comments to the Navy. This is not being done to legitimize the Navy’s actions, but rather to set the stage for a legal challenge to the adequacy of DEIS. The following are a few observations:

  • The DEIS misrepresents the impacts of Growler noise. No measurements of noise were taken in communities. Instead, the Navy used computer modeling that averaged periods of noise with long period of silence.
  • The DEIS ignores overwhelming scientific and medical evidence of harms caused by hazardous Growler noise. It presents no evidence that those harms are not now occurring and will not occur in the future
  • ALL of the alternatives for Growler operations proposed by the Navy will create more noise and harms in communities throughout the Puget Sound. The DEIS’s alternatives only shift the burden of harms between communities.

 YOUR Comments to the Navy

Review the DEIS at http://www.whidbeyeis.com and make detailed comments if you wish.  However, it helps if you do nothing more than summarize your objections. (Jan. 25th is the deadline for making comments)

  • EMAIL and post your comments at http://www.whidbeyeis.com
  • MAIL OR FAX to, Public Affairs Office Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command 1562 Mitscher Avenue, Suite 25 Norfolk, Va. 23551-2487 Fax: (757) 836-3601
  • TAKE your comments and concerns to a Navy “Open House” meeting. (below)

Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center, USO Hall 200 Battery Way, Port Townsend, 3 to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Oak Harbor Elks Lodge Grande Hall, 155 NE Ernst St., Oak Harbor 4 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 at Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, 204 Village Road, Lopez Island 3 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 8, Seafarers’ Memorial Park Building, 601 Seafarers’ Way, Anacortes 3 to 6 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 9 Coupeville High School, Coupeville 4 to 7 p.m.

Navy Plan to Increase 'Growler' Operations Criticized


Contact: Maryon Atwood (360) 678-1414
Cathryn Andrews (612) 306-4800

Navy’s Plan to Increase ‘Growler’ Operations Draws Criticism
Promise of Legal Challenge

The Navy’s recently announced plans to increase ‘Growler’ jet training over Whidbey Island has drawn fire from one citizen organization, led to the formation of another, and prompted the Town of Coupeville to hire their own noise experts to scrutinize the Navy’s plan.

The Navy plans were outlined in a required Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that is supposed to have studied the potential impacts of its planned expansion and identified alternatives for public consideration and comment. The Navy did not begin its self-conducted environmental study until after Growler operations began.

“The Navy’s actions violate our democratic principles and harm the very people the Navy is sworn to protect,” said Ken Pickard, President of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve. COER has been at the forefront of efforts to halt Navy Growler operations that have become a source of complaints from communities throughout the Puget Sound. Growler noise impacts in Central Whidbey have already created what one health expert labeled a “public health emergency.”

The Navy’s “Preferred” alternative for expanding Growler Operations would:

  • Increase low-level training operations at its Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville from 6,250 operations a year to 35,100 – almost a 600% increase.
  • Increase noise footprints and expose up to 3,446 children to greater than 65 dB DNL– which research shows to cause decreases in learning, reading, comprehension, cognitive abilities with a host of other adverse health and behavioral impacts. The noise can interrupt classroom learning up to 45 times per hour. (Navy DEIS.)
  • Increase Growler operations from North Whidbey Island and noise impacts over Port Townsend, Anacortes and San Juan Islands – including Lopez Island where more than 5000 complaints were registered on a Growler noise ‘hot-line.’
  • Increase impacts on Deception Pass State Park, where Growler noise drives away visitors at a loss of $1000 a day in park fees alone. (Seattle Times)

All of the Navy’s ‘alternative’ scenarios will increase noise, health harms and other adverse impacts. The Navy’s “no action alternative” would continue Growler operations that currently expose
people in homes, schools, parks and businesses to noise that exceeds community standards set by the State of Washington, the EPA, the Occupational and Health Administration (OSHA), and the World Health Organization.

“Asking citizens to choose from the Navy’s list of alternatives is like asking us which club we want to be beaten with,” said COER member Bob Wilbur. “The Navy’s desired number of flyovers will force homeowners to sell their unlivable properties at huge losses.”

According to COER, the Navy’s Environmental Study is flawed by design, in part, because the Navy did not take a single real-time measurement of noise experienced by communities. Instead, the
Navy used unreliable computer modeling that averaged periods of noisy over-flights with days of silence when jets did not fly. National noise experts say this is an invalid misuse of the noise metric.

The National Park Service recently completed a sound study of Growler noise impacts over Ebey’s Landing Historic Reserve and concluded that Growler noise is a problem requiring serious attention. Because of Navy Growlers, the once peaceful Reserve is now the loudest National Park in the Nation.

The Navy will issue a final Environmental Impact Statement and decision after it ‘considers’ public comments on the Draft EIS. The National Environmental Policy Act only requires the Navy to seriously study potential harms and alternatives. However, the Navy can still choose the most harmful action alternative.

COER is urging the public to reject all of the Navy’s proposals and has vowed to continue its political and legal efforts to oppose Growler operations over populated and environmentally sensitive


CitizensoftheEbeysReserve2@gmail.com, P.O. Box 202, Coupeville, WA 98239