10/03/2018: "Concerns About Increase Of Growler Flights"
(SDA video screen capture photo)
The Sound Defense Alliance had released the follow statement on their concerns on the Department of Defense expansion plans:
The Department of Defense released their Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Friday, September 28th proposing massive increases in geographic and operational activities across Puget Sound.
For decades, Northwest Washington State communities have partnered with the Military in protecting our national security. Now, our communities are collateral damage of the Growler Jet program because of the incredible noise, pollution, and economic impacts.
The latest proposal by the Department of Defense, released on Friday, September 28th, dramatically increases the number of Growler jets and flights - putting us all at risk. “The members of the Sound Defense Alliance are standing up for our communities,” said Maryon Attwood, chair of the newly formed Alliance.
The Sound Defense Alliance is a new voice in Washington, currently about 25,000 strong and growing, working to protect our Northwest communities and natural environment from harmful and increasing impacts of expanded military activity around Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula.
People have come together across the region to create events on Wednesday, October 3rd as The Sound Defense Alliance launches its campaign to engage elected leaders, regional leaders and the public to tell the Department of Defense -- No New Jets, No New Flights.
Rallies and events sponsored by member groups of the Alliance will take place at locations around Puget Sound and organized by: Indivisible Fidalgo from Skagit County; Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, Coupeville Community Allies and Whidbey Island Affiliate member groups from Island County; Quiet Skies Over San Juan County from San Juan County, and Save the Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend in Jefferson County.
According to Attwood, “The final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) from the Navy is trying to claim reductions from its draft as a framework to make the proposal look less harmful. They are trying to hide the fact that their proposal is still all about increases: 36 more jets, increased operations at Ault field, major increases at Outlying field in Coupeville, increased geographic encroachment over new regions of the Pacific Northwest.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature during the selection of process of the World Heritage Nomination, the “Olympic National Park is the best natural area in the entre Pacific Northwest…it is unmatched in the world.” The Navy, undeterred by thousands of comments, considers training at the Olympics as a nonessential convenience, and plans to fly over these public lands 260 days per year. New noise maps from the final EIS show that noise will occur in many new areas around Puget Sound at dangerously loud levels. In fact, never before has the Navy been allowed to fly more than 50% of their low-level Field Carrier Landing practices (FCLP’s) at the OLF in Coupeville. Now they propose to increase FCLP’s by 80% over Coupeville, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Central Whidbey’s schools, gathering centers, and the County hospital.
Over the past several years Northwest communities have become collateral damage to incremental changes made in Washington D.C. Communities have been good neighbors �" but this EIS proposal goes too far. Unbearable earth-shaking noise and pollution increases from the Growler Jets will put all things Washingtonians hold dear at risk - our health, safety, economy, land, air, water and wildlife across the San Juan Islands, Island County, Jefferson, Skagit, and Clallam Counties, and the Olympic Peninsula. These include some of our most treasured protected public places that the Department of Defense seems intent on ruining. “We need our elected officials to stand up and fight against these strong-armed federal actions being taken by the Department of Defense,” concluded Maryon Attwood, chair of the Sound Defense Alliance.
The Navy could dual site Growler jets, or they could continue to use other Naval airfields closer to deployment and maintenance areas, as they do now. They have choices. Instead, the DoD has approved basing all of the Navy’s jet-based electronic warfare assets on Whidbey Island. Single siting Growlers only on Whidbey Island increases risk to national security and operational readiness, as their numbers increase from 82 to 118 to a final goal of 160 Growler jets stationed at Whidbey Island --- adding new jets and operations over the Pacific Northwest.
For more information about the Sound Defense Alliance, how to become a member and future actions, please go to: sounddefensealliance.org/, or facebook.com/SoundDefenseAlliance.