My husband and I attended the December 3rd Public Meeting in Coupeville. While it was advertised as a scoping meeting that was intended to gather public input, I left feeling that the Navy’s goal was to help impress upon me why the expansion of the airfield operations was essential and to emphasize that there are no viable alternatives.
While a few representatives were willing to engage in a dialogue that acknowledged that other perspectives are valid, my overall impression was that the representatives did not seem to be able to recognize the impact their actions and comments have on the community surrounding the field. For example, one representative (a Naval aviator) smiled when I explained how flights at 1 am impact my sleep schedule (my alarm is set for 4 am so I can commute to my job) and responded that “sometimes we go until 2 or 3 am”. The last group of representatives we spoke to even brought up how necessary flight operations are in preparation for World War III! These were disappointing responses that lead me to question the ability of the Navy to provide a fair approach to this issue.
In direct response to the request for comments to be used in scoping: I live in the Ledgewood Beach area. The Navy conducted 6000 Touch-and Go operations at the OLF in the first 5 months of 2013 before suspending operations. We suffered a seismic event, a landslide, on March 27th 2013. I believe the Touch-and Go operations at the OLF during the rainy months of early 2013 were a contributing factor in causing our landslide.
As noted above, I get up a 4 am every morning and leave for work 5:15 a.m. In order to get the sleep I need, I go to bed around 9:00 p.m. Flight operations past 10:00 p.m. are a great hardship on me and my ability to perform in my high pressure job.
I am submitting the following topics be included in the EIS Scope:
OVERALL SCOPE: The EIS scope should be expanded to include all EA-18G and EA-6B operations at NASWI to determine how they impact the local communities and environment.
GEOLOGIC IMPACT: An examination of the possible impact of aircraft noise and ground vibrations on the various island slide areas including in the Ledgewood Beach community (additional information can be found on the Island County website referencing the March 27, 2013 Ledgewood Geologic Event, http://www.islandcounty.net/publicworks/DEM/landslide.html).
NOISE: Test real-time high noise events on the ground. Don’t use model averages that include non-operational times. JGL Acoustics reports maximum sound levels from Growlers at the OLF were “well above the levels requiring hearing protection and are high enough to potentially result in permanent hearing loss.”
HEALTH: Address all health effects of aircraft noise and toxic jet aircraft pollution, including permanent hearing damage, blood pressure and cardiac problems; how children have a greater susceptibility; and the harm to livestock and wildlife. Reference studies by: The World Health Organization; The U.S. Department of Transportation; and The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
SAFETY: Consider how pilots and residents are at risk whenever the Navy uses the short, outdated World War II era Coupeville OLF and flies at low altitudes over residences and businesses.
ENVIRONMENT: Examine the effects of OLF flight operations on the valuable recreational, tourist, agricultural and wildlife uses in Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, a National Park of environmental, cultural, and historical significance and an important wildlife and migratory bird habitat.
REAL ESTATE VALUES: Consider how the louder and more frequent use of the OLF has devastated the local real estate market. Home sales in the OLF area have shown a steep decline from 2008 to 2012, compared to increases in Langley, Freeland and Island County in general.
ALTERNATIVES TO OLF: The Navy should close the outdated Coupeville OLF (which hasn’t been used in 6 months) and permanently relocate all EA-18G and EA-6B flight training to safe, state-of-the-art facilities in non-populated areas.