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Navy

Truthout has done an outstanding job of reporting the military expansion taking place in the Northwest, largely through the efforts of staff reporter, Dahr Jamail. The most recent article is posted below, though you can see the original at the Truthout website.

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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:


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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.

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The Navy's Wrongheaded Approach to Whidbey Island Jets - Brian Cullin

According to Brian Cullin, who wrote an opinion piece for the Seattle Times today, the Navy is eventually going to have to figure out how to work with the local citizens instead of rolling over them. He says if it doesn’t, the Navy will inevitably “lose”.

Who is this Brian Cullin, and why does he think he knows anything about this subject?

He is a retired Navy captain who most recently served as a senior adviser at the State Department. In the ’90s he served as assistant White House press secretary in the Clinton Administration.

Here is his letter, below. The original publication with the Seattle Times can be seen here.

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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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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.

Acronyms - OLF and Navy jets

If you’ve been part of, or following the issues surrounding OLF Coupeville, you will have noticed that there are a lot of acronyms, especially when dealing with the military or other government departments.

Here is a handy list of the most common acronyms you are likely to see regarding the Navy Jets and Coupeville OLF.

You can also download it HERE on our website.

AICUZ Air Installation Compatible Use Zones
BASH Bird/wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard
BRAC Base Realignment And Closure
COER Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve
dB Decibel
DNL Day Night Noise Level
DOD Department of Defense
EA Environmental Assessment
EIS Environmental Impact Statement
FCLP Field Carrier Landing Practice
SEL Single Event Level
FONSI Findings of no Significant Impact
FOIA Freedom of Information Act
NASWI Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NIOSH National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
OLF Outlying Field
OLFC Outlying Field Coupeville
OSHA Occupational Safety & Health Administration
SEL(re:noise) Sound Exposure Level
SR20 State Route 20
WHO World Health Organization
Wyle Labs “Leading provider of specialized engineering, professional, scientific and technical services to the federal government.”
NIPTS Noise Induced Permanent Threshold Shift (in hearing)
JGL JGL Acoustics; Jerry G.Little, President

Governor Inslee - Meeting on Toxic Jet Noise

Governor Inslee - Meeting on Toxic Jet Noise

LETTER TO GOVERNOR INSLEE

November 6, 2016

Dear Governor Inslee,

This request follows our unanswered letter to you of August 29, 2016. We received a receipt acknowledging its delivery and are concerned that we have not received a response. We are writing again, as a coalition of organizations, to request a meeting with you about a regional issue of growing importance.

At the heart of this issue are the Navy’s ongoing and planned warfare-training operations. These operations are having, and will have, significant economic, environmental and public health impacts on our state.

This is not an issue that can be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or because Environmental Impact Statements are being pursued. Our environment, our local economies, and our health are already being impacted, in some cases severely.

Our state and local agencies, especially those addressing health and environmental issues, are trying to figure out how to respond to citizens’ pleas for help. The harms being done and threatened are being reported in the news and gaining national attention.

  • Over 125,000 petitions signatures have been gathered opposing U.S. Navy plans to expand Electromagnetic Warfare Training in the Olympic National Forest.
  • Toxic noise from training operations on Whidbey Island has created what a noted health professional described as a “Public Health Emergency.”
  • Deception State Park, Washington’s most visited State Park is losing about $1000 each day that Navy sends ‘Growler’ Jets flying low over campgrounds. (as reported in the Seattle Times).
  • The US Navy and its Seals are in the process of commandeering 68 beaches, in western Washington for combat training, including some residential neighborhoods.
  • A citizen noise reporting website has been established and maintained by the San Juan County Council to document Growler noise in the San Juan Islands. More than 5000 citizen complaints about Navy jet noise have been entered since May,2014.

Our public and private lands are being misused for military warfare training with little more than token or no opportunity for comment. Citizens, whose complaints often seem to fall on deaf ears, are losing confidence in their elected officials. They need to hear that you and your cabinet care and will do what you can to address our concerns.

Please meet with representatives of our organizations and invite whomever you deem appropriate to the meeting. We will identify the representatives that we will be sending and will provide written information to you and others in advance.

The following is a list of organizations signing on to this letter. Please respond to the following contact person. Your response will be shared with all organizations listed below. This is an issue that demands your attention and one that will not go away. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sincerely,
Ken Pickard (Contact Person)

Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER)

P.O. Box 202
Coupeville, WA 98239

Quiet Skies Coalition

Save the Olympic Peninsula (STOP)

North Olympic Group Sierra Club

Protect Peninsula’s Future

Olympic Environmental Council

Veterans for Peace

Concerned Island Citizens

Port Townsend to send letter to Navy about Jet Noise

(from the Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend City Council to send letter to Navy about Growler noise

The letter will say the area of study for potential effects of increased Growler operations at Whidbey Island is too narrow.

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council will send a letter to the U.S. Navy raising concerns over potential increased jet noise.

The letter to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Commanding Officer Capt. G.C. Moore will say the area of study for potential effects of increased Growler operations at Whidbey Island is too narrow.

During the City Council’s meeting Monday, Councilwoman Michelle Sandoval said the city’s letter should include both historic districts in the city and Fort Worden.

“The city disagrees with your area of study, as well as your definition of the indirect effects component of the APE [area of potential effect],” the letter says.

Councilman Robert Gray said he was concerned about the noise’s impact on the historic buildings.

“I think it could be clarified that we are also concerned about the buildings,” he said.

He also suggested adding more language thanking the Navy for being good neighbors for the past 74 years.

“We’ve benefited from that,” he said. “We’re strong supporters of the military.”

In a July 12 letter to Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson, Moore requested feedback from the city on the Navy’s proposed APE for increased Growler operations on Whidbey Island.

The Navy is preparing a draft environmental impact statement on a proposal to add up to 36 EA-18G Growler jets to the 82 currently based at NAS Whidbey Island. The statement is to be released in the fall, according to www.whidbeyeis.com.

The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an electronic warfare aircraft used to suppress radar.

Its operations have been a topic of controversy on Whidbey Island and parts of the North Olympic Peninsula since the jets began flying over the area in 2008.

During public comment, one unidentified man lauded the council for writing the letter to the Navy.

To support the mission at Whidbey Island, the Navy proposes to:

• Continue and expand electronic attack operations at the complex, which includes Ault Field near Oak Harbor and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville.

• Increase electronic attack capabilities and augment the Growler Fleet Replacement Squadron to support an expanded Department of Defense mission for identifying, tracking and targeting in a “complex electronic warfare environment.”

• Construct, demolish and renovate Ault Field facilities to accommodate additional aircraft.

• Put more personnel and their families at NAS Whidbey Island and the surrounding community.

The Navy has defined areas of potential indirect effects as places where noise remains within 65 decibels, a federally accepted metric used by the Federal Aviation Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense and other agencies.

The proposed actions would not result in a 65-decibel average anywhere in East Jefferson County, according to Navy sound maps.

In the response from the city, officials said the 65-decibel baseline is a day-night average measured over the course of a year.

“While this is the FAA standard, FAA policy does not preclude local jurisdictions from setting a lower threshold of compatibility for new land use developments, and the policy allows for supplemental or alternative measurements,” the draft letter says.

“The average decibel level in the city, especially at night, is likely to be very low — even below 55 [decibels] in certain parts of the city.

“Growler operations are not continuous; the noise impacts of the operations vary based on the exercise, but include flights over and near the city for hours at a time — frequently at night.”

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

Reporter Rob Ollikainen contributed to this story.

Communications Training

ADVANCE NOTICE: Communications Training at the OLF at the end of March.

If you see a big army tent set up and these devices above, this is what it is all about. The Navy’s news release is below. Also check out the article in the Whidbey News-Times.

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