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Growler

FCLPs Jets - July 24-30 2017

FCLP Schedule of Growler Jet Flights for the upcoming week of July 24-30 2017.

Coupeville carrier operations

Wednesday, July 26: Late Night
Friday, July 18: Late Morning

Ault Field carrier operations

Monday, July 24: Early Afternoon, then Evening to Late Night
Tuesday, July 25: Late Afternoon to Late Night
Wednesday, July 26: Afternoon
Thursday, July 27: Evening to Late Night

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.”

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Navy Plan to Increase 'Growler' Operations Criticized

NEWS RELEASE NOVEMBER 30, 2016

Contact: Maryon Atwood (360) 678-1414
Cathryn Andrews (612) 306-4800
citizensoftheebeysreserve2@gmail.com

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
areas.

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http://citizensofebeysreserve.com
CitizensoftheEbeysReserve2@gmail.com, P.O. Box 202, Coupeville, WA 98239

STOP2016
Bio-effects of electromagnetic radiation missing from Navy’s “Impact Statement”

STOP’s ongoing review of the Navy’s recently released Northwest Training and Testing Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) has identified what we believe are a number of significant violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

In our last update, we discussed how other government agencies have criticized the Navy’s analysis of the noise impacts of the aircraft using the proposed Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range.

In this update we discuss another gross deficiency – the complete failure to analyze the impacts of the electromagnetic radiation that would be emitted by the electronic warfare weapons with which the aircraft using the proposed EWR will be equipped.

Section 2.3 of the FEIS has an extensive listing and description of sonar systems, ordnance, munitions, targets, and other systems to “facilitate understanding of both the activities and the analysis of the environmental effects of their use.” The potential environmental impacts of those systems are then analyzed in Section 3 of the FEIS.

However, no such listing or description is included in the FEIS for the electronic attack weapons with which the EA-18G Growlers are fitted. This is especially ironic because the whole purpose of the EWR is to provide testing and training in the operation of those systems.

Instead, without limiting or describing in any way just what electronic attack weapons will be used, Section 3.0.5.3.2.1 of the FEIS dismisses any consideration of their impacts by claiming that “these systems will be operated at power levels, altitudes, and distances from people and animals to ensure that energy received is well below levels that could disrupt behavior or cause injury.”

Just as with the Navy’s more conventional weapon systems, however, a listing of the types of electronic attack weapons and their specifications, and the “power levels, altitudes, and distances from people and animals at which the weapons will be used,” is needed to “facilitate understanding of both the activities and the analysis of the environmental effects of their use.”

A recent article in the online publication Defense Systems noted the Navy” is upgrading its electronic attack aircraft, the EA-18G Growler” and described the Growler as “an advanced airborne electronic attack platform, with electronic warfare capabilities” including “non-traditional electronic attack” weapons.

According to its Environmental Assessment, the EWR is intended to “sustain and enhance the level and type of EW training currently being conducted by assets using the [Northwest Training Range Complex], to provide the ability to accommodate growth in future training requirements, and to maximize the ability of local units to achieve their training requirements on local ranges.” It is also intended to provide “combat-ready Tactical Electronic Attack squadrons which are fully trained.” This degree of training would require the use of “non-traditional electronic attack” weapons within the EWR.

A United States Army document entitled “Bioeffects of Selected Nonlethal Weapons” released in 2006 discussed electronic warfare weapons that could induce sounds in human subjects, trigger epileptic seizures, and induce blinding. In 2013, the Air Force awarded General Dynamics a $49,000,000 contract to conduct bio-effects research on directed energy weapon effectiveness and safety, directed energy bio-mechanisms, radio frequency bio-effects modeling and simulation, and human effectiveness analysis and integration. This 2013 contract indicates that the development of the selected nonlethal weapons mentioned in the 2006 document is very much being pursued by the Department of Defense. These types of weapons would seemingly qualify as “non-traditional electronic attack weapons.”

Before any rational analysis of the effects of the EWR can be made, it is essential that the specifications of all the electronic attack weapons to be used in the EWR, including “non-traditional electronic attack” weapons, be known. This is especially so with non-traditional electronic attack weapons being a part of the Growler’s arsenal, and with those weapons apparently being designed to harm people.

We invite all of you to share your knowledge and concerns regarding electronic attack weapons with us and the public so that this aspect of the EWR might receive the proper attention. We invite the Navy to recognize the deficiencies in its NEPA documents, and to start anew by drafting a scoping document to begin the proper analysis of the environmental impacts of the EWR.

 

Save The Olympic Peninsula
savetheolympicpeninsula.org
P.O. Box 3133
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Open Sky

No more FCLPs at the Coupeville OLF for the rest of 2015. The holidays have truly come at last!

Caution Growlers2

The previous announcement called for no flights this week. However, weather is supposed to be tricky with wind and rain so be ready for sudden changes again.

Flight Operations Schedule Change at OLF Coupeville Nov. 12 and 13, 2015

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. –Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) operations for aircraft stationed at NAS Whidbey Island are now scheduled to occur at the Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville, Wash., in the afternoon and evening of Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, and in the afternoon of Friday, November 13.

Below is a letter from our friends at the West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition. This request is incredibly important and is IMMEDIATELY necessary to address – time is of the essence. Please read this right now.



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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

After more than a year in which tens of thousands of objections—letters to the editor, public comments on and off the official record, web sites, meetings, petitions, and other forms of civil discourse, the Navy is acting as if we’ve been completely and utterly silent on their un-neighborly proposition of declaring an electronic warfare range over our heads and flying low and loud over our communities. Discouraging? You bet. Time to give up?

Absolutely not. This is the time to dig in and declare to the Navy that we the people have only just begun to resist this illicit and arrogant encroachment into public lands and waters, and into our lives with their horrendous jet and sonar noise.

This fight is happening because this federal agency has been and continues to disobey federal and state law while also ignoring the ongoing and increasing concerns of other federal and state agencies as well as the concerns lodged by public interest groups, municipalities, businesses, and thousands of citizens and visitors to the Olympic Peninsula.

It’s time to remind the Navy that the 327,000-acre Yakima Training Range is only a 9-minute flight from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (instead of 5 minutes to the Olympic Peninsula,) and to publicly ask why, when that range is so lightly used and so available, must the Navy insist on taking the most sensitive lands in the entire northwestern United States for electronic warfare? Why poke the public in the eye with a sharp stick?

We apologize for the length of this letter, but it is needed to explain the rapid and complex turn of recent events.

The West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition are going to build a “citizens tool kit” for people to use that will go beyond letter-writing.

While letter-writing remains one of the most potent tools, a lot of people are feeling discouraged about results. They shouldn’t, because these letters are having a significant impact on agencies, elected officials, political appointees, the media, and other audiences. But this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it may require more letters as well as use of other tools. We will be in touch with you about this citizen’s tool kit.

If you haven’t checked the West Coast Action Alliance’s web site lately, (http://westcoastactionalliance.org), here is an update to the chain of events described in the most recent posts.

Two things are about to happen:

1. The Forest Service is about to issue a Record of Decision, or “ROD,” on whether to grant the Navy a permit to drive its mobile emitters on national forest roads (we don’t know when), and

2. The Navy is about to sign a Record of Decision, probably on Monday, November 9, that will “finalize” its Northwest Training and Testing EIS.

The first will be followed by a public comment period, because the Forest Service, despite its faults, would not dare to deny the public its right to be heard. Expect the Forest Service to cave in to the Navy despite everything.

If you wrote them a letter last year during the comment period, you can write them another one now.

Why is this important? Because in the first letter you may have pointed out corrections or problems that needed to be addressed. The Forest Service had the opportunity to address your comments, and now this will be your opportunity to tell them they didn’t. This is the nature of the public comment process. The public gets to say, “Fix this,” the agency has the chance to do that, and if they don’t the public gets to say, “You didn’t fix it,” and sue them. Anyone who didn’t comment hasn’t got the “standing” to sue them. It’s unlikely that any one individual has the cash to mount a lawsuit, but organizations do, and they can use the volume and content of public comments to help make their case. So that’s one huge value of writing letters.

You may not see results immediately, but organizations who can and do sue agencies that violate the law can use the massive inpouring of public comment in court. So, thank you if you have written comment letters; we will send out a notification when we know more about when and where to send comments. A partial list of laws that we believe have been violated by the Navy and the Forest Service is at the end of this letter.

In the second event, the Navy will grant itself permission to proceed with activities, despite the fact that consultations with two federal and one state agency have not been completed. This is unprecedented, and goes against the Navy’s own policy. In order for them to be able to sign the Record of Decision, the Navy must issue itself one or more waivers excusing them from their obligations to consult with the three agencies. So, in effect what we have is a federal agency proceeding in secret with actions that will be injurious to the environment, the people who live there, and local economies, without knowing what the impacts are, and giving itself a waiver to “make it official” by signing the Record of Decision. If ever there was a “fox watching the henhouse” scenario, this is it.

A Joint Memorandum explains the unprecedented and illicit chain of events leading up to the situation we now find ourselves in. http://westcoastactionalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/WCAA-OFCO_Memorandum_ABSOLUTE-FINAL.pdf

Why is the Navy in such a hurry that they would do this? And why would they deny the public the right to comment? For one, their current “Letters of Authorization” to harass, harm or kill certain numbers of endangered species are about to expire and they want new permits. But neither the Fish and Wildlife Service nor the National Marine Fisheries Service can issue such new permits without completing consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, which means they must publish documents called Biological Opinions (FWS’ will cover northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and bull trout while NMFS’ will cover whales, dolphins and other marine species.)

The State of Washington has not concurred with the Navy’s findings, either, and cannot sign any approvals on impacts to cultural and historic sites. So what is the Navy likely to do if they don’t have Biological Opinions and permits to back up their claims of no significant impacts? The answer is: they are likely to proceed with their actions anyway, that will harm threatened and endangered species and cultural and historic sites. They will probably do this without the coverage of a permit or a determination from these agencies. In other words, the Navy has just told two federal and one State agency to buzz off.

Want proof? Click on these links to read the Navy’s recent cover letter and official termination of consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer: http://westcoastactionalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Navy-to-SHPO.pdf
and
http://westcoastactionalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Navy-to-SHPO-NWTT-NHPA-Completion-Letter-to-WA-SHPO-05-Nov-2015.pdf

Click on this link to read the State’s immediate objections and response. http://westcoastactionalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/SHPO-to-Navy-021314-41-USN_110615-4-2.pdf

There is no doubt that the Navy is applying heavy pressure to the Governor’s office, and that this places the Governor in a very tricky situation, because the State has a significant relationship with the Navy. But the law is the law, and the Navy is abusing it, and the State is bound to uphold the law. Basically, the disagreement between the State’s Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO, pronounced “Shippo”) and the Navy boils down to this: The SHPO sees the activities described in the Navy’s separate legal documents as connected. Activities described on the Electronic Warfare Range, the Growler jets, and the offshore sonar, explosives and other things in the most recent EIS, are indeed connected. Without the Growlers, there’s no reason for the mobile electronic warfare emitters, and where do the Growlers go after flying over the Olympic Peninsula but offshore to the Northwest Training and Testing area. There is a thing called cumulative impacts analysis that the Navy is desperately trying to avoid, because that would show us the real, overall picture of impacts rather than snapshots of smaller piecemealed scenarios.

But this must not be the only driver for the Navy’s hurry. We don’t know what the other drivers are, but we believe that if the federal government willfully and openly disregards the laws that protect both people and the environment, then the people have the right to insist that the government stops what it’s doing and follows the law.

The Navy likes to say they’ve been in the Pacific since 1841, which is fine, but those ships didn’t have sonar that can blast at 235 decibels and still injure animals 300 miles away at levels to 140 decibels. Or sonobuoys. Or massive bombs. And guess what, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station wasn’t here until 1941. The planes they flew then (F4F Wildcats, PBYs) were a lot smaller and quieter than the new Boeing EA-18G Growlers, which have afterburners, can fly at 1200 mph, and emit 150 decibels. Even when the Navy flew Intruders, the public was barely aware of them.

The Growlers have changed everything.

What logic could justify the Navy roaring low and loud over some of the most the most sensitive lands in the nation (not to mention quiet communities) when only a 9-minute flight away is the 327,000-acre Yakima Training Range? That’s only 4 more minutes of flying than it takes to reach the Olympic Peninsula.

The Navy says in its recent letter that it’s been training for years and nobody has ever objected. They insinuate (and sometimes say openly) that we must be a bunch of whiners. Well guess what, we never complained about noise before, because they’ve never done it like this – 260 days per year, 8 – 16 hours per day. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to correlate the number of complaints with the amount of noise. And you don’t even have to be very observant to know what makes a good neighbor, or a bad one.

Once again, the Navy continues to disobey federal and state law while also ignoring the ongoing and increasing concerns of other federal and state agencies as well as the concerns lodged by public interest groups, municipalities, businesses, and thousands of citizens and visitors to the Olympic Peninsula. Good neighbors obey the law and don’t ruin their neighbors’ peace of mind or the economies of towns. Good neighbors respect the rule of law. This isn’t a “sound of freedom” issue or a NIMBY issue or even a patriotism issue. Quite simply, it is about obeying the law of this country.

So yes, it’s discouraging that the Navy denied us the opportunity once again to be heard, and they have ignored all of our concerns, and that they are plowing forward as if the laws and the people don’t matter. What the Navy does not seem to understand is that not only is it being a very bad neighbor, they are self-nominating for years and years of public outrage, community opposition, civil litigation and direct political action if they persist in illegally militarizing public lands while destroying marine and terrestrial habitats and local economies in the process. The people of the Olympic Peninsula did not pick this fight. But it is both reasonable and demonstrably patriotic to insist that our government comply with the laws it has made and demands that we all follow. It is right to resist any illicit militarization of public lands and waters and it would be wrong to give up the fight now. We should all recognize that this fight is just now beginning and the patriotic citizens of this country that dare to speak truth to power are going to win it.

Send an email today to William Manley (william.manley@navy.mil), Navy Deputy Federal Preservation Officer, and John Mosher (john.g.mosher@navy.mil), COMPACFLT, and let them know this process must be fully completed because the Navy needs to adhere to the same rules and regulations the rest of us have to follow. We are not being unpatriotic; we simply want the Navy to obey the laws of the United States of America. Thank you.

Sincerely and with optimism for the future,

The West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition

 

 

List of federal laws violated by Navy and/or Forest Service:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • National Forest Management Act (NHPA)
  • Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

List of ways in which the public has commented:

  • Letters to editors of local papers: Too many to be counted
  • Written public comments to Forest Service: 4,000
  • Written public comments accepted by Forest Service: 3,300
  • Written public comments to Navy: 1054
  • Form letters of objection to Navy: 9,700
  • Public comments at “public information meetings: Hundreds (not accepted for public record)
  • Petitions objecting to proposed activities: At least 3
  • Numbers of petition signatures: At least 130,000.
  • Numbers of local opposition groups formed: At least 20

Caution Growlers2

Flight Operations Schedule at OLF Coupeville the Week of October 25 – 31, 2015

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) operations for aircraft stationed at NAS Whidbey Island are scheduled to occur at the Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville, Wash., Wednesday late afternoon, October 28, 2015

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WHIDBEY ISLAND AND NAVY EXPANSION – FIND OUT WHAT’S NEXT

We are witnessing the biggest military expansion of our history – bringing more jets, more noise, and increased threats to health and the environment. Adverse impacts on our health, historic structures, tourism, outdoor recreation, and on the living creatures of the Puget Sound, the nation’s second largest estuary, are already documented.

History proves that Judges can be wrong -­‐ and their decisions overturned. We think the judge was wrong to allow screaming ‘Growler’ jets to fly low over homes, businesses, schools, and parks. With your help, there is much we can do to take our case to the court of public opinion and WIN.

Bring your friends and a dish or two to share, and join us on Sunday, October 18th, from 3-5 pm.

Pacific Rim Institute, Parker Road, Coupeville.

Olympic Forest

Forwarding this letter of thanks concerning the Olympic Peninsula Petition.


 

Dear ones,

Thanks so much to all of you who attended this moving event at the US Forest Service and those who wanted to but were not able to attend.  I am sure you will agree with me that this wonderful and very touching video by Nancy Botta of Rain Dagger Productions, captures the very essence of our gathering:  https://vimeo.com/140555410.  A contingent of three individuals took in the paper copy of the petition which by then had over 120,000 signatures and constituted a stack of paper [approximately to my eyes] about 10″ tall, to a meeting with Forest Service officials.  They were somewhat encouraged by their reception by the Forest Service.

You will be able to follow the issue on Facebook at Protect Olympic Peninsula and on the web at www.savetheolympicpeninsula.org and www.westcoastactionalliance.org.

It is really urgent that you write a brief impassioned letter in the next few days to  the following individuals, who will have to make a decision very soon:

Chief Tom Tidwell of the US Forest Service, ttidwell@fs.fed.us ;
Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary of Natural Resources:  Robert.bonnie@osec.usda.gov

If you haven’t done so already, pass along all this information to your friends and contacts who care about such matters. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/?/dont-turn-the-olympic-pen?/ They do not need to live in WA.  And also send them this amazing video of our petition delivery [which now has 126,855 signatures and still growing] to the United States Forest Service. https://vimeo.com/140555410.

Hats off to Linda Sutton who filmed the event footage and to Nancy Botta, Rain Dagger Productions, for making this touching video.

Linda Brewster