Open letter to Rick Larsen not signed due to fear of reprisal. Isn’t this a shame?

Honorable Rick Larsen

Member of Congress

2113 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Larsen:

I have concerns about the October 31,2008 Interim Audit Report done by the Audit Service of the US Navy, entitled “Consideration of Hazardous Noise in the Acquisition of F/A-E18/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler Strike Fighter Variants”, that I would like to bring to your attention.

You have not been sympathetic to the concerns expressed by Coupeville area residents about the sharply increased noise levels at Coupeville’s Outlying Field (OLF). Apparently you have assumed that the Department of the Navy had assessed noise levels at OLF and had made a determination that they were not unacceptably high. If you read this report you will see that no such assessment was made.

I would like to quote a section of this report (Section 5{a});

“According to PMA265 representatives, the F/A-18E/F aircraft emits, and the EA-18G will emit, a maximum of 150 dBs, which is well above the noise level considered harmful to hearing (greater than 84 dBs). According to PMA265, they made no initial attempts to mitigate flight line/deck jet noise hazard through design selection. This is contrary to the system safety design order of precedence specified in the MIL-STD-882D.”

Although the report does discuss, at some length, the hazard for flight deck crew and the costs associated with hearing loss suffered by armed forces personnel, there is no analysis of the noise impact upon the surrounding community. If you refer to a publication from the F/A-18 Program Office at the E2S2 Symposium of May 2009, you will see that the Navy appears to recognize that a host community has the right to be concerned and consulted. In fact, the study reported that the cost of community jet noise continues to escalate. It cites the following:

$38 million paid by the navy in Virginia Beach

$350 million potential liability in Tidewater Virginia

$10 million in litigation costs for an outlying field in Eastern North Carolina

Outlying field cost – exceed $300 million

Incredibly, in the Department of the Navy’s “Memorandum of Record”, dated March 8, 2008, there is an unsubstantiated conclusion as follows:

“An additional conclusion is the fact that the EA-18G produces less sound energy (in certain frequencies) than the EA6-B it replaces due to different engine/exhaust nozzle configurations. For this reason, the Navy was able to go forward with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for basing the EA-18G at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures.”

Now you know that a Federal Agency, even the US Dept of Navy, cannot make an unsubstantiated FONSI. This FONSI is a fraud! It is a clear violation of NEPA. As the citizens of Coupeville have told you, the EA-18G is much, much louder than the EA6-B it replaced. You never had noise complaints of this magnitude before 2012, when this replacement took full effect.

The Department of the Navy has announced its intention to issue a new Environmental Impact Statement with regard to the operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey, including OLF. Recent statements from Navy representatives have, however, shed doubt on the integrity of their proposed assessment. I am asking you to step up to the plate and be an “honest broker” to demand that the Navy be honest and straightforward with this community. The citizens of Whidbey Island deserve a full assessment of the impact of naval operations on the Island. This includes a scientific analysis of the impact of noise levels created by “touch and goes” at OLF on the health of the surrounding community.

Can we count on you to represent this community?



  1. Ann Adams

    It IS a shame that someone who has important information to give the community is afraid to sign his or her name to this information for fear of reprisal. What kind of reprisal? Boycotting a business, or something else? Has there been any violence against people who advocate closing OLF Coupeville except for the sparkler bomb thrown in Becky Spraitzar’s yard and the vandalism to her sign?

    1. citizensofthereserve

      Yes, many of have gotten phone calls in the middle of the night, other harassing measures. This is what is the shame. Either side doing this is just not right.I have no idea who is doing this, as BOTH sides claim their angel-hood, that they are blameless of everything. Can’t figure out who this can be then.

  2. Neal Sims

    Why are we afraid to sign the letter? Why don’t we all sign it and send it to the congressman?

    1. Ann Adams

      I’m ready to sign it.

  3. Neal Sims

    Joe two miles doesn’t do it. I live about 5 miles away, but in the path they use coming and going. It’s several magnitudes louder than the EA6s.
    BTW, you really have no horse in this race. It ‘s just as easy for you to go somewhere else to take your tail number pictures. We, on the other hand, live here. MYOB.

    1. citizensofthereserve

      You VISIT the jets. They are your play thing.
      Big difference!
      How do do dare to tell us what our life is like when they fly!

  4. Jan Pickard

    Joe, do you know what it is to live in a community with deep roots and history, not to mention a National Historic Reserve? Please be more thoughtful in your support of jets. There are many safe places to touch and go, no other place like ours.

    1. citizensofthereserve

      Are all your petition signers more important than even one child who goes deaf from the noise? Who is afraid to go to sleep because of nightmares from the jets. Would you want a crash into Admirals Cove on your shoulders? The death of a child is less important than your OLF? School children unable to learn due to jet noise aren’t more important? Where are your priorities?
      How about the jets practice elsewhere until this is resolved?

      1. citizensofthereserve

        “How about we just cap OLF…..” We who?
        If you had any say with the navy, negotiation might be reasonable. You do not tell the navy what to do. Neither do we. So, you, or us, negotiating is useless. In the court of law there is negotiating, not on a blog or the Whidbey papers. What deal can you deliver? Tell me what you can actually deliver, then we will negotiate.

      2. citizensofthereserve

        I said “what can you deliver?” “Lobbying to put polite pressure?” Kinda like, sir, if you please, if it wouldn’t trouble you, would you mind stopping killing my friends? I hate to be pushy, so if you really want to still drive our people deaf as well as crazy, that’s OK. But, if……..

    2. Neal Sims

      Nope, the troops are having no problem training now. They can train carrier landing practice at Lemore or in the Idaho/Utah training ground. As someone else pointed out we live here and you only visit to take your pictures. Again, not your business.

  5. Neal Sims

    Joe and just so you know the 4000 “patriots” who signed your petition were not the only Patriots on Whidbey. We take offense at your insinuation that those with opposing views are up patriotic. In my case, I am a retired USAF officer, so don’t assume you know how we feel or what our politics are.

    1. citizensofthereserve

      Well, Joe,
      I find it patriotic to support the health, safety and well being of our entire human race. That does include the military as well as civilians. I do not find it patriotic to support the military over the safety of our children and adults. I do not find it patriotic for the military to endanger civilians. The Coupeville OLF is not necessary for the safety of the military. The military has been able to fulfill their mission to full capability not using the Coupeville OLF.

      Are you opposed to the safety of our children? Do you feel the military should re-start using the OLF even they know they are harming our friends?

      Answer the question, Joe

      1. Joe A Kunzler

        I am all for relocating the small # of children to protect all of America’s children.

  6. Bee Ritter

    Joe Kunzler states:

    “I don’t see anything here meriting reprisal.”

    However, that presumes that if Mr Kunzler did see something that merited reprisal he would send his army of 4000 patriot goons after the author?

    1. Neal Sims

      Bee, good point, but Joe doesn’t have any army of anyone. He seems to have delusions that he is in charge of protecting the Navy, In reality he is just a Navy groupie who likes to take pictures of jets, and get his picture taken sitting in various aircraft. He has no authority or position. He just wants to keep coming to Whidbey to watch and take pictures of airctpraft. He doesn’t live here. He doesn’t get to live with the noise at 2AM, or have to drive 20 miles to escape and have a quiet dinner.

      IMHO we should just ignore him and his constant “support our troops” drivel he keeps sending in to every paper on the island.

  7. Neal Sims

    How about we just wait to see what the court says?

  8. citizensofthereserve

    OK, that’s enough. This blog isn’t intended to recreate the Whidbey News Times. This post is closed to comments.

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