Letter to our Senators

Senator Patty Murray
173 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Maria Cantwell
311 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510-4705

July 11, 2013

Dear Senators Murray and Cantwell:

As a member of the Citizens of Ebeys Reserve, I was the liaison for the Growler noise study conducted by JGL Acoustics, Inc., on May 7, 2013. The Board of Directors has asked that I inform you of the JGL Report. I am sure you are well aware of the efforts of our group to move the Coupeville Outlying Field (OLF) to a 21st century location, given that (1) development in the Coupeville area has not been constrained and remains unchecked, (2) Navy use of the OLF is beyond local control, (3) jet noise levels have increased greatly over the past 5 years, and (4) understanding of noise impacts on human health have advanced tremendously over the past 20 years.

As I am unable to email you the JGL Report file, I will instead direct you to our web site, , where you can find the JGL Noise Report (Lilly Report) under the Links and Files tab and therein within the File Archive section (June 13, 2013).
The following related information below is important for you to consider because without this information you will be unable to fully understand the needs of your constituents in this important matter.

1) At the four outside locations JGL recorded, the decibel levels varied from 113 to 119 dB, the latter being in Admirals Cove, the most densely populated location examined. Rhododendron Park, where families visit to watch the kids play ball was just behind that. The industrial health experts at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say that “115 to 120 dB is the critical noise level at which human hearing is subject to instantaneous permanent damage. Without adequate hearing protection, any exposure to noise levels above 115 dB is likely to cause permanent hearing loss.”

2) And the EPA explains that if someone, in a 24-hour period, is exposed to 1.5 minutes of noise over 100 dB, then they will experience permanent hearing loss. JGL found that one 36-min session of 28 jet overflights at Rhododendron Park exposed the moms, dads, and kids at the ballpark to 2 minutes and 15 seconds of noise at 100-114 dB, nearly twice that EPA hearing-loss threshold.
3) But inside-home jet noise is also a big problem. The EPA indicates that if someone is exposed to 2.5 hours of noise greater than 80 dB within a 24-hour period or just 46 minutes of noise greater than 85 dB, then they will likely experience hearing loss. JGL measured noise inside just one home that was not under the jet path, and it was up to code and windows were closed. Nevertheless, levels were 81 dB, and in homes closer to the jet path we routinely encounter 90-95 dB during flyovers. In 2012 there were 57 days of 50 to 108 touch-and-go circuits. With that many overflights in one day, folks in many Coupeville area homes on each one of those 57 days were exposed to enough cumulative indoor sound to inflict hearing loss, unless they were wearing hearing protection. And with windows open in the summer heat, that likelihood of damage is greatly exacerbated.
4) Finally, the DNL (day-night sound level) contours used by Island County do not reflect actual noise levels (way to small) because they grossly underestimate actual OLF usage patterns. The 75 DNL area is actually much larger, including all of Admirals Cove, the most densely populated area. The JGL report notes the following: “The calculated day-night sound levels are well above recommended levels for residential areas. For example, in the 1980s the Port of Seattle purchased virtually all homes near Sea-Tac Airport that were located inside the 75 DNL contour, recognizing that aircraft noise above these levels are harmful to humans.”
And none of this addresses the obvious safety issues yet to be examined. We hope this helps you to understand, as are the citizens here, that the OLF has very serious consequences that can only be mitigated by finding the OLF a new venue. We need your assistance to smooth this overdue transition.
We would welcome hearing your thoughts on this unfortunate situation and how best to effect a solution with the least community disruption.

Thanks much,

Robert Wilbur

Wilbur to Cantwell and Murray​Page 1 of 2

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