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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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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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Rick Larsen and Navy Jet Proposals Inadequate

Congressman Rick Larsen and Navy Proposals for Growing Jet Noise Problem Draw Criticism

Congressman Rick Larsen and the Navy are being criticized for failing to address the growing problem of harmful noise from controversial EA-18G ‘Growlers,’ the loudest jets ever to fly. The Navy Growlers have become the source of noise complaints throughout Puget Sound region.

Growlers, all based at Whidbey Naval Air Station, practice low level training operations that saturate homes, business, and recreational areas with documented levels of hazardous noise. Growler noise, recognized as hazardous by the Navy’s own standards, has created what one health professional labeled, “a public health emergency” in central Whidbey Island.

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Navy Clearcut

According to the press release we’ve received from NASWI, the Navy will clearcut a swath of trees east of Runway 25 for about 10 acres. All vegetation that grows there will be allowed to be cut down at will from now on by the Navy.

The release suggests that there can be written comments about this sent to the Navy until May 13th.

Information about how to contact the Navy with your comments, about the clearcut, and about the Environmental Assessment, can be found below in the copied release.

Speak now or forever (quite literally, as it indicates in the press release) hold your peace.


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Increased Military Presence

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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

The Reserve

During the next two weeks, Island County Planning will be hosting a series of public meetings as a part of an ongoing public outreach strategy to address rural land use. One meeting will be held in each of the four planning areas; North Whidbey, Central Whidbey, South Whidbey and Camano. The structure of the meetings will be a short presentation by Planning Staff, followed by small group discussions. The small group format is intended to provide opportunities for all individuals to engage in detailed and focused discussion. Everyone is encouraged to attend these meetings and provide their input on this important community discussion.

The dates, times and locations for the meetings are as follows: 

Wednesday, October 21:
6-8pm Coupeville Public Library
788 NW Alexander St,
Coupeville, WA 98239

Thursday, October 22:
5-7pm Oak Harbor Public Library
1000 SE Regatta Dr,
Oak Harbor, WA 98277

Tuesday, October 27:
5-7pm South Whidbey Elementary Community Room
5380 Maxwelton Rd,
Langley, WA 98260

Thursday, October 29:
5-7pm Camano Multipurpose Center
141 Southeast Camano Drive,
Camano Island, WA 98282′

To find a copy of the meeting agenda and more information on the rural lands public outreach process please visit the Island County Comprehensive Plan Update website by clicking the following link:


If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, feel free to submit your comments to CompPlan@co.island.wa.us

Planning Commission meetings on this topic will provide further opportunity for public comment as well. Dates and agendas for Planning Commission meetings are posted to the Planning Department as they are scheduled.


Thank you and hope to see you there!

Meredith Penny

2016 Comprehensive Plan Update



Long Range Planner

Island County


Caution Growlers2

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., Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday, October 5, 6, 7 and  9, 2015.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5-7, FCLPs are scheduled in the evening. On Friday, October 9, FCLPs are scheduled in the afternoon.



Dear friends and neighbors,

Thank you for your contribution, large or small.  We could not be here 3 years later, without you, and your financial help makes it possible. 


P.O. Box 202

Coupeville, WA 98239

You can send checks to the above address, or choose the DONATE button on our main website to donate safely through Paypal.

The  ‘winds of change’ are blowing – and all of us are going to be impacted.

Whidbey Island and the Puget Sound region is witnessing the biggest military expansion of our history – bringing more jets, more noise, and increased threats to health and the environment. We are already seeing adverse impacts on our health, historic structures, tourism, and on the living creatures of the nation’s second largest estuary – Puget Sound.

Many of those who came to Whidbey in the 1800’s came for a peaceful and free way of life. Freeland’s name reminds us of that past. What brings and keeps most of us here is that same desire for freedom. We want a quality of life that includes beautiful landscapes, quiet ‘soundscapes,’ and a connection with nature and each other in a way that defines what a “community” should be.

Whidbey Islanders have a history of pushing back on military encroachment on those freedoms, in Coupeville, in Greenbank and even Oak Harbor. During the 80’s and 90’s Islanders, led by Coupeville, objected to noisy ‘Prowler’ jet training.  They took the Navy to court, won concessions and even compensation.  Then came the Growlers, the loudest jets yet to fly.

The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER), today’s activists for a rural and peaceful Whidbey, have been working since late 2012 to protect what we hold dear.  We have raised and spent over $130,000 to do research, educate the public, and hire legal counsel.  This money has come from the pockets and savings accounts of COER members and supporters, all of who have volunteered their time.

If we hope to change the military’s plan for our region, we MUST ACT NOW as a larger and louder community.

Contributions to COER have allowed us to:

  • Challenge the Navy’s 2005 Environmental Assessment that allowed the Growlers on Whidbey Island;
  • Successfully advocate for a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS);
  • Pay for an independent noise study of the EA-18 G Growlers using the Outlying Field in Coupeville;
  • Pay health experts to research and report on the health impacts of noise onchildren and adults;
  • Obtain the Navy’s internal documents and conduct other necessary research;
  • Pay for our own noise complaint HOTLINE to respond to people’s concerns;
  • Visit elected officials, Federal agencies, and Pentagon officials in Washington D.C.;
  • Conduct media interviews and presentations from the Olympic Peninsula to the San Juan Islands;
  • Help create a new regional organization, Pacific Northwest Coast Alliance, to bring other groups together to fight the militarization of Puget Sound.

Most recently, COER filed for an injunction in federal district court to stop the Growlers from using the Outlying Field in Coupeville until the harms to people and the environment are studied. The Federal District Judge, who was once in the Navy, ruled against us.  His ruling flies in the face of the facts and common sense. It allows the loudest jets ever built to fly low over homes, parks, and places of business before the Navy completes an Environmental Impact Study.

History proves judges can be wrong, which is why their decisions are sometimes overturned on appeal – or effectively changed with public opinion.  We think this Judge was wrong.

Appeals are expensive. If we are to do so, we need to raise $50,000 quickly.  We hope you’ll consider contributing to this amount. But even if we don’t raise enough for the appeal, your contribution will help us take our case to the court of public opinion through a renewed campaign of public education, organizing, and action. We must begin to prepare a stronger legal footing on health impacts and noise levels and a new economic study that refute the Navy’s arguments when it comes time to challenge the EIS. No matter what – the fight will continue and your support is needed.

Many of us have selected our homes with great intention. Whidbey Island, Lopez, the San Juan’s, Port Townsend, Coupeville, and the communities of the Olympic Peninsula are all vibrant, beautiful and historic  — we are ALL in jeopardy. Help us stop this from happening!

The Navy’s military mission is in stark contrast to our Island and rural values that allow us to freely engage in raising families, businesses and improving our communities in a healthy, safe  and peaceful ‘soundscape’ without restrictions caused by harmful and painful jet noise.

Help us relocate the Growlers! Give what you can today and protect what you love.  We have challenged the Navy before and won – we can do it again.

Stand with us NOW to protect our communities from the military’s ‘winds of change’ that now bring ALL of the Growler’s noise to Puget Sound.

Respectfully and with our thanks,

COER’s Board of Directors


P.S. Please join us for a POTLUCK on October 18th at the Pacific Rim Institute on Parker road in Coupeville from 3 to 5pm. You will hear the latest news and how you can volunteer your help. Protect what you love. Stand with us to protect our communities from the Growler noise.

 Caution Growlers

Flight Operations Schedule at OLF Coupeville the Week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, 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., from Monday, September 28 to Friday Oct. 2, 2015.

On Monday and Friday, September 28 and October 2, FCLPs are scheduled midafternoon. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, September 29 through October 1, FCLPs are scheduled in the evening.