(This letter was sent by the Group, “Citizens Harmed by Disclosure Deception”, and we are pleased to share it here.)
To: Members of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees
Regarding: Critical information on the abuse and persecution of families living directly under the flight path of Growler jets
Congress has authorized the continual escalation of noise produced by EA-18 Growler jets flying as low as 250 feet over densely populated civilian neighborhoods at the Outlying Field, Coupeville, near the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. An additional 22 planes have been requested, and 70 more are in the planning stages. That would almost double the number that already constitute a health emergency and life disruption that is indescribable.
An Environmental Impact Study on the Growlers is now underway, but the Navy has demonstrated an inability to police itself, evidenced by the fact that this study would not have been conducted at all if enraged citizens had not brought expensive legal action against the Navy in Federal Court to force its preparation. At its completion, we expect a “No Impact” rubber stamp based on comments already made by the Base Commander expressing the Navy position.
These additional jets will fly over families who already suffer from the worst noise abuse experienced at any air station in the United States because protection recommended by the FAA, EPA, and DoD has been withheld from them in violation of Island County law.
This is what happened:
- Island County, without sufficient Navy influence used to prevent it, allowed homes to be built in crash zones where the Navy AICUZ says residential use is incompatible. Permits are still issued there.
- Island County adopted misleading disclosure language for builders which provided no jet noise information at all and the Navy went on record as supporting and recommending it.
- For 20 years, Whidbey Island realtors used the misleading builder’s disclosure for home buyers and renters, instead of the original, legal disclosure used for residences.
- Civilians, who unknowingly bought property in a crash zone, learned too late that their lives will forever be dictated by the soundtrack of Growler jets circling low overhead, again and again, until they move.
- A class action law suit is on track to be filed over the next few weeks against real estate companies to recover the loss in property value that will result because the legal disclosure that was reinstated in January will surely alarm new buyers.
This has been the result:
- The noise zone population has suffered health problems, psychological pain and financial loss.
- Predictably, these people complained, documented the severe health risks of noise, and protested.
- Because the deception was hidden and “they were told” was assumed, there has been wide-spread harassment of “complainers” in the community, as well as persecution by leadership at all levels of government and by the military.
- Decisions continue to be made that dramatically escalate the problem and deny any protection, including the current request to fund 22 additional Growlers with 70 needed beyond that.
- There is an indication that the EIS now being conducted will be flawed, as evidenced by a recent letter written in June 2014 by the NASWI Base Commander, Captain Nortier to Senator Cantwell’s office in response to a constituent complaining about inadequate disclosure. In what appears to be a Navy position statement, he claimed disclosure did indeed occur over the past 20 years, despite well documented information presented to him by the County and numerous citizens in correspondence and one-on-one conversations. He also made a number of additional disturbing comments showing a disregard for both factual information and for noise zone sufferers.
As a member of the Armed Services Committee, you should be aware of the magnitude of this situation. The Noise levels here would break all laws ever devised by county, city, or state governments, as well as laws and guidelines set by OSHA, the FAA, and the EPA. These extreme levels are not even included on most published noise charts. Congress has put the Navy above the law, and total control has led to abuse.
The Armed Services Committee is at a decision point:
- Could some of the funds being tagged for more planes be used instead to move training to a new or different field that does not entail civilian abuse? We live in the crash zones less than a mile from the OLF Coupeville runway where touch and go operations occur. The field cannot sustain its current use and certainly cannot meet the demands of future defense requirements.
- Can the United States defend this country AND do so without inflicting harm on its own citizens? We believe both can be done. We are suffering and we need your help!
Limits must be set on military activity. Civilian protection must be funded along with any plans to expand. Congress cannot continue to leave the Navy lawless.
We would appreciate a response on this very important matter.
For an overview and documentation of these issues, see the web site, “Citizens Harmed by Disclosure Deception.” For a summary, visit these pages first:
Thank you for your consideration.
Citizens Harmed by Disclosure Deception