Navy Reports: Pilot Deaths Due to Oxygen Failure in Jets

Navy Reports: Pilot Deaths Due to Oxygen Failure in Jets

This is an issue that should concern everyone, regardless of the political view they have of Navy jet flights. We don’t want pilots to die, and we don’t want pilots to fuzz out or black out while flying over residential areas.

The article was written by CNN and the entire thing can be read there. Here is an excerpt:

(continue reading…)

Jet Training Schedule - FCLP - OLF and Ault Field - June 11-17 2017

No sleep for Monday through Wednesday…

There has been a change to aircraft carrier-based flight training for aircraft stationed at NAS Whidbey Island for Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Aircraft carrier-based flight training is now scheduled late morning to early afternoon. Late afternoon operations for Tuesday are cancelled.

Next week’s scheduled for Coupeville follows below. 

(continue reading…)

Here is an article by Crosscut about how the Navy contaminated Whidbey Island’s water sources and what is happening (or not happening) as more information about the scope of the damage is revealed. (continue reading…)



We’ve received this press release from Navy Region Northwest, concerning upcoming outreach meetings for proposed Naval Special Operations Training in the area.

If you have questions concerning these proposed activities, be sure to read the following material and contact them either at the meetings or via email or snail mail (they list this at the bottom of the press release.)

(continue reading…)

Kilmer Questions Navy Jet Training

Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6th District) sent off several letters requesting more information about the Navy’s plans concerning the Growler, and how it impacts the environment and his constituency.

In each of his letters, he began: “Given your agency’s mission, I request assistance in further understanding your recent and ongoing efforts impacting Washington’s Sixth Congressional District. Like many of my neighbors, I want my kids, and their kids to enjoy the pristine environment that I have been privileged to experience.”

(continue reading…)

Oxygen Deprivation Risk Rising in Growler Jets

An article by CNN describes the dangerous defects inherent in several jets, including the Growler. Do we really want increased flights over our heads with “a growing number of incidents” of oxygen deprivation amongst Growler pilots? While there has always been a risk of accidents with all aircraft training over Whidbey Island, it seems the likelihood is actually increasing.

(continue reading…)

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.


(continue reading…)

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

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

From the article by the Whidbey News-Times:


Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times: Central Whidbey resident Steve Swanson, a former emergency room doctor, talked about jet noise and how a potentially hazardous chemical that the Navy is testing wells for accumulates in the body over years. The public meeting was held Monday in Coupeville.

Central Whidbey confronts Navy jet noise, water testing

by Jessie Stensland


The outspoken anti-jet-noise group Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve is no longer the only show in town when it comes to registering concern about the Navy’s plans to bring more aircraft to Whidbey Island.

A new advocacy group is forming and the Town of Coupeville is taking steps to independently verify Navy findings.

More than 100 people crowded into the United Methodist Church in Coupeville Monday night to learn more about the draft Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, on the increase in number of EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, as well as the Navy’s plans to test wells for a potentially harmful chemical.

The meeting was hosted by Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, also known as COER, but the leaders of the group acknowledged that some people concerned about these issues may not want to be associated with the group because of its aggressive tactics.

Ken Pickard, president of COER, gave a speech in which he said his father, if he were alive today, would have been a community leader who diplomatically rallied his neighbors to fight the Navy’s plans for increased flights at Outlying Field Coupeville.

“I can’t fill his shoes,” he said. “I’m too combative. I’m aggressive. I’m outspoken.”

He urged people not comfortable with COER to join a new group of “more reasonable people” or find other ways to make their voices heard. The increase in noise from the aircraft-landing practice at OLF Coupeville outlined in the draft EIS, he said, will be catastrophic.

 “It will ruin everything that all of us live here for,” he said.Kelly Keilwitz, a Coupeville business owner, spoke about the new group, which is still in the process of being formed. The group, he said, will work to inform and empower the community about such issues as jet noise and water pollution with a goal of preserving the character, fabric and history of Central Whidbey.

The group doesn’t have a name, though a possibility is “Save Coupeville,” according to Keilwitz.

COER leaders feel worn out and haven’t had wide support from the community, Pickard said, but they are not giving up either. They are hiring national experts to study the noise and will submit the information to the Navy. COER members also encouraged people to send comments to their elected representative, particularly U.S. senators, who’ve been largely silent on the issue.

Tuesday night, the Coupeville Town Council approved a plan to hire two consultants, for up to $14,900, to review the Navy’s draft EIS and provide analysis and comment.

“Within the range of the Navy’s proposed operational alternatives are possible outcomes that may have, in staff’s view, very significant, possibly detrimental, and long-term effects on the Town and surrounding communities,” Town Planner Owen Dennison wrote in a staff report.

Dennison said he reached out to a former colleague who has experience with this kind of study and she put him in touch with noise specialist. Both have agreed to work together and provide a report prior to the Navy’s Jan. 25 comment deadline.

Dennison said the noise consultants would be looking at the noise data and modeling in the draft EIS to verify that it is correct and determine whether or not it is the appropriate model for circumstances surrounding OLF Coupeville.

Town Council is planning a special meeting for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 at the Island County Human Services Building to further discuss the areas of the EIS they want the general consultant to focus on.

The draft EIS states that 36 or 37 new Growlers coming to Whidbey will mean more touch-and-go practice and more noise, but the exact figures depend on how many of the new aircraft will go to carrier-based squadrons and how practice will be split between Ault Field and OLF Coupeville.

The draft finds that there’s no conclusive link between jet noise and health problems — contrary to COER claims — but it confirms the possibility that noise may affect children’s cognitive development. The study described the Growlers as vital to national defense and explains that aircraft carrier landing practice is extremely important for the safety of pilots.

At the COER meeting Monday night, Greenbank resident Richard Abraham presented information about the chemical the Navy will be testing wells for. He spent a career running organizations and providing assistance to organizations responding to toxic pollution problems.

The Navy announced earlier this month that it would be testing drinking water wells around Naval Air Station’s Ault Field base on North Whidbey and the Outlying Field in rural Coupeville for the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which are chemicals present in firefighting foam used to put out aircraft fires.

The action came after the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year established lifetime health advisory levels for the compounds.

Yet Abraham said the science showing the harm caused by the chemicals, which are present in Teflon and many other common items, was established years ago.

He referenced the groundbreaking Tennant lawsuit against chemical company DuPont in which an attorney for a farmer — whose cows were mysteriously dying — uncovered evidence that the company knew about and concealed the dangers of perfluorooctanoic acid as far back as the 1950s.

A large, seven-year, peer-reviewed study as a result of lawsuits found a probable link between the chemical and kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease high cholesterol, pre-eclampsia and ulcerative colitis, according to a New York Times story.

In 2005, the EPA fined the company $16.5 million for concealing information about the harm caused by the chemical and its presence in the environment. The EPA issued a lifetime health advisory levels this year.

Abraham encouraged people with wells that will be tested by the Navy to ask to split the samples so they can have them independently tested; he said they should also ask the Navy to pay for the independent testing.

The Town of Coupeville is doing its own independent testing of its water supply. The town’s main wells are near the Outlying Field.