Commissioner HP Johnson’s reply to the letter to the commissioners

Mr.” Citizen” this citizen’s name is removed due to fear of reprisal!
I did read your email and want you to know I partnered with Mayor Conard last year and we have been meeting with local Navy leadership periodically ever since to explore what options are available and under the authority of the Base commander to adjust. We have talked about limiting flight days, hours or the number of planes in each rotation. One idea we discussed was the addition of a parallel runway at Ault Field. We were told that it is an expensive proposition; not under his authority, but not impossible. It saddens me that our wonderful community has become so bitterly divided over this and some have vilified others for voicing concerns. My fellow commissioners have a different perspective than mine on this issue and perhaps it is a reflection of our geographic districts. Citizens in District 1 are most personally impacted by OLF while citizens in District 2 and 3 on North Whidbey reap the economic benefits of Ault Field. There are local small business owners in the Central Whidbey area who have explained to me that they have operated from their homes for many years, but were struggling to continue when the Growlers started flying so often. I experienced the Growler planes when they are flying and know that the recent noise and frequency is different from years past. I’ve lived on the island since 1965 and don’t recall the local impact ever being this intensive. The new EIS should reflect the actual levels the community is experiencing, which will be helpful for mitigation efforts. I have been looking at how other communities deal with jet noise and have been struck by the fact that federal mitigation programs for residential insulation and sound attenuation exist for areas near commercial airports, but not military airports. I have included Rep. Rick Larsen’s aide in this reply to allow him to respond as well.

Helen Price Johnson
Island County Commissioner, District 1
1 NE 7th Street, PO Box 5000
Coupeville, WA 98239
(360)679-7354 office
(360)321-5111 ext. 7354 from South Whidbey
(360)632-1168 cell

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  1. Ann Adams

    Joe, this is a little different from what you said in the WN-T comments to Janis Reid’s story of Sept. 6, “Navy will conduct study on jet noise at Outlying Field.”

    On Sept. 8 at 11:54 a.m. Truman Lowry wrote: “I bet all these people that have been asking for an EIS will wind up gripping [sic] that it is taking too long when it stretches out to 3 to 5 years to complete, which is average for an EIS.”

    You replied on Sept. 8 at 1:40 p.m. “Truman, at the risk of being a fool and spewing strategy, my support of an EIS is in part to wear them down for 3 to 5 years so buying them out becomes the star option.”

    If COER agrees to “tolerate the training,” maybe that will “wear them down”?

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