Coupeville, WA – Representatives of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER), a citizen organization concerned about health and environmental impacts of the Navy’s controversial EA18-G ‘Growler’ fighter jets, are requesting a meeting with Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s new Commander, Geoffrey C. Moore.
“COER has been instrumental in disseminating information to the public and it represents a significant number of citizens that the Navy is supposed to serve and protect,” said COER President Ken Pickard. “We want to welcome Commander Moore to our Island community, bring important information to his attention, and explain our concerns regarding the Navy’s expanding operations and forthcoming Environmental Impact Statement.” said Pickard.
Members of COER were able to engage the previous base commander in face-to-face discussions during required public ‘scoping’ meetings. However, scoping meetings that provided the opportunity for such discussions have ended. “Given the changes in operations and the change in command, the meeting we request is timely and appropriate.” said Pickard. The Navy has acknowledged receipt of COER’s request.
COER is particularly interested in Navy’s expectations concerning aircraft noise exposure due to future Field Carrier Landing Practices (FCLP) operations at Outlying Field Coupeville. The Navy has, for the past two years, restricted the number of related operations to a specific number – but forewarned the community that those numbers were no longer guaranteed.
The Navy’s last formal evaluation of Growler noise impacts was published in 2005 for the approval of 52 Growlers. Now there are 82 Growlers home-based on Whidbey. According to the Navy, Growlers account for 98% of the noise coming from the Naval Air Station.
As reported in the April 4 front-page story of the Seattle Times, Growlers are responsible for noise complaints from throughout the Puget Sound region. With the Navy’s one-site policy and Congressional approval of up to 153 EA18-G Growlers, all 153 could be coming to Whidbey Island bringing more adverse impacts with them.