An open letter to rick Larsen

Congressman Rick Larsen
108 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Larsen:

I am in tears as I write this, EA-18G “growlers” overhead, trying to remember why on earth I voted for you in the last election. The growlers you brought to Whidbey Island have been flying low, over our house, just above the trees, all afternoon. I haven’t had any sleep for the last two nights, as the planes flew until after midnight. As I anticipate no sleep again tonight, I am jittery and stressed waiting for the next onslaught.

Whose “representative” do you purport to be? Surely not that of my husband, whose hearing has deteriorated at an incredible rate since the growlers began terrorizing the population of Central Whidbey Island. Surely not that of the school children who play outside at recess and after school at home or at Rhododendron Park while their hearing is being permanently damaged. Surely not that of the 6-year-old son of a worker at our recycle center who woke up in the night screaming when the planes were overhead so frequently that his parents decided to move. Surely not that of the father of that child who now commutes from Freeland to the Coupeville recycle center, and works outside right under the flight path. Surely not that of the farmers who can’t work outside without ear protection (which only helps so much) because of the noise.

The health (physical and mental) of the citizens is being compromised. I wake up edgy, wondering how many flights will interrupt my activities, my sleep, and my conversations (even inside the house with the windows closed). As you must know, the decibels are WAY over what is safe for humans and other living things. Because of you, the health of our pets, farm animals, and wildlife is deteriorating. They can’t wear ear protection and are innocent and vulnerable. My dogs run around in circles and bark at the sky when the growlers are flying. They look to us to stop the noise, and we can’t. Something needs to change. Who is going to reimburse us for our ear muffs, hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, loss in property values, tranquilizers and other medications, and loss of life and property when a plane crashes in our “accident potential zone”? The Navy’s own data shows that it is unsafe to live under these conditions.

The island is losing business. The owner of a recording studio way down in Langley has said he can’t record when the jets are flying. A farmer I know helplessly watched as two carloads of tourists pulled into their farm to buy food, heard the jets overhead, and piled back in the cars and left without purchasing the produce they had come to enjoy. This happens regularly. There are documented cases of real estate agents losing sales once the prospective buyers heard the jets. The B&Bs and hotels/motels are losing business. Word travels fast when visitors’ nights are interrupted by the noise, preventing sleep and relaxation.

Why are you promoting all of this? How can you in good conscience exhort the Navy to bring more and more, louder and louder jets, with total disregard for the health and well-being of your constituents? Who are you actually representing? Why can’t the growlers move to somewhere like China Lake in California or other less populated areas? China Lake even has the infrastructure in place, and the residents who are there welcome the jets with open arms.

PLEASE reconsider. I have a pile of papers and reports a foot high documenting the damage being perpetuated on the good people of the Ebey’s Reserve. I will be happy to share any information with you. Are you actually as callous as you appear? You have really disappointed your fellow Democrats in our town.

This letter was begun two weeks ago, but I was too upset to complete it until today. The facts remain the same.


Jane Monson

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  1. Ken Simpson

    Your comments about hearing damage and Rick Larson’s unsupportive position are spot on. I too have sustained hearing damage.

    Recently an old WSU student friend sent me this e-mail prior to the June 19th Coupeville meeting: “Ken, keep me updated re the meeting tomorrow to solve that health damaging naval air jet noise. Horrible to live under a bureaucracy which claims to defend our liberties while it massively takes it away both monetarily and health wise.” Cheers. S. (Sig Sutterlin, Ph.D., Senior Fulbright Scholar in Comparative Economics, Ottumwa, IA.)

    1. citizensofthereserve

      Thank you for your comment.

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