Newsletter for June/July 2022

Changed Again! Hmmm?

Please be aware that Navy has once again changed its email address for the submission of complaints and comments regarding jet noise on Whidbey Island.  Could it be that they were receiving voluminous complaints and hoped to slip this change through and thereby reduce the number of recorded complaints?  Or was the national address getting overwhelmed and the brass decided Whidbey should stand on its own?  They’ll never tell us but just be aware.
Henceforth, all email comments, including noise complaints, should be directed to NAS Whidbey Island at:

Telephone complaints still go to:

(360) 257-6665

And remember:

The Navy DOES hear you!
So when the Growlers fly, call the Growler noise complaint line
or send an email to let them know we hear them
and we aren’t happy!



One of the Sound Defense Alliance’s successes was to get Congress to pass a requirement in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring the Navy to do a comprehensive noise monitoring study at two naval air stations, including NAS Whidbey Island.  COER filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request last year for details about the program, and in particular the plan of implementation.  The Navy stonewalled with regard to the plan.  On March 3, 2022 COER was forced to once again file a FOIA lawsuit against the Navy for the release of the plan.  On March 29th the Navy finally sent (without mentioning our suit), what they claim satisfies COER’s FOIA request.  Of course, we had to go back to get them to add clarifications to that submission.  Now we are negotiating how much the Navy will pay us in Attorney’s Fees for having to file suit under FOIA again.  They just don’t seem to understand that we will not be cowed or deceived and that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure the public’s rights are protected.

We have posted all of the documents we received from the Navy regarding their sound study on our website at:
[Please note that this link is to a large group of PDF documents and may take a minute or two to load!]

Our initial review of these documents clearly indicates that the Navy’s monitoring Plan did not comply with the congressional intent for this monitoring study.  Congress wanted the Navy to perform a bona fide noise monitoring study to determine how bad jet noise is.  The Navy wasn’t interested in doing that.  They fought tooth and nail not to have to monitor.  When Congress insisted, the Navy and its contractors devised a study to “validate” their prior noise modelling results.  On its face the study report looks comprehensive.  But it doesn’t do what it was supposed to do:  real life monitoring of jet noise.

Many of us were worried that the Navy would play games with their operations while being monitored.  Surprise, surprise that’s exactly what they did!  They should have done a blind study, so that the pilots had no idea when they were being noise monitored.  Instead they coordinated monitoring operations with the base and actually cherry-picked the pilots to be monitored.  How do we know this?  It’s in the documents they didn’t want to release to us.  For instance, in the document entitled:  “Aircraft Sound Monitoring Study Project Kick-off Meeting Notes,” under “Next Steps” on page 2, you will find this statement:

  • “Action — BRRC will develop a data validation package and will work remotely with installations/air crews on collecting operations data.
    • For better efficiency and consistency, BRRC recommends coordinating with pilots who have worked with noise modelers on prior NEPA or AICUZ studies.”  [Emphasis added.]

Nobody should really be surprised that the Navy devised a way around the intent of Congress, and created a bogus study with cherry-picked pilots and data to support their desired result.  They have a long history of doing just this.  As the federal magistrate said in his recommendation in our NEPA suit:

“Here, despite a gargantuan administrative record, covering nearly 200,000 pages . . . the Navy selected methods of evaluating the data that supported its goal of increasing Growler operations.  The Navy did this at the expense of the public and the environment, turning a blind eye to data that would not support this intended result.  Or, to borrow the words of noted sports analyst Vin Scully, the Navy appears to have used certain statistics “much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”  Report and Recommendation, page 2.
COER’s analysis of the problems with the Navy’s program and report, as provided to our Congressional delegation, can be found at: the way, our attorneys are preparing a new batch of FOIA requests for the Navy.


The Washington State Parks Commission Decides Not to Appeal WEAN’s Victory

As widely reported, Whidbey Environmental Action Network (WEAN) prevailed in their suit against the Washington State Parks Commission to prevent them from issuing permits to the Navy to use our State Parks for commando training with park users being props.  The thirty day period for the Commission to appeal that court decision passed without an appeal being filed.  This case is over.  Once again we congratulate WEAN on their victory.  We also applaud the Parks Commission for understanding that Washington State residents were overwhelmingly against this Navy scheme and thereby deciding not to appeal.


When Will the Judge Rule in COER’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Case?

It’s been six months since the Magistrate rendered his favorable report and recommendation in our (and Washington State’s) NEPA suit against the Navy.  We are frequently asked when do we think the Judge will make his decision on the Magistrate’s recommendation.  In short, nobody (maybe not even Judge Jones) knows!  This was a complicated case with tens of thousands of pages of exhibits.  The briefings filed by the parties alone would fill a book.  We should all appreciate the fact that Judge Jones is taking his time to make sure that his decision is the right one and one which will survive appeal.  Yes, the long wait is frustrating.  But we are a tough lot and we are in a big fight for our people, our homes and businesses, our very community.  We all knew this would be a long, hard fight.  We have never gotten this far before, so be patient.  And rest assured, we will never give up this fight until the last Growler is moved from Whidbey Island.


  1. Diane Tompkinson

    Thanks again to you and all who contributed time, money, and energy to this fight for our community.

  2. Bill Dickey

    The aviation navigation app Foreflght posted a military Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) stating that OLF Coupeville is closed until September 23, 2022 for concrete repairs.

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