On November 10th, the Navy released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the planned addition of 36-37 new EA-18G Growler planes to the Whidbey Island fleet. There is a hard copy at the Lopez Library, or you can review it online at http://www.whidbeyeis.com/. The Navy will hold an open house on Lopez Dec. 7 from 3–6 p.m. at the LCCA. There will be a public comment period of 75 days.
This will bring the total number of planes based on Whidbey Island to 119. All Growler pilots are to receive flight training at NAS Whidbey, and the Navy estimates the additional planes will result in a 46–47 percent increase in Growler traffic in our area. Growler noise has been a concern for residents of the south end for years. However, many of us have observed the flights over all of Lopez increasing from infrequent to almost regular over the past several years. I would expect this trend to continue.
Not everyone is affected the same way by the noise of the Growler, and every person’s opinion should always be respected. There are many studies documenting the health impacts of low-frequency sounds on our body. So, if your quality of life or wellness of health are being negatively affected by the jet noise, now is the time to voice your opinion.
Attend the Navy’s open house, ask questions, state your concerns, and get answers. Your opinion will be recorded and can make a difference. The comments Lopez voiced to the Navy in 2014 have been included in this latest EIS, and have helped expand the scope and thoroughness of the study.
Also, San Juan County has set up a jet noise reporting website as a way to channel comments back to the Navy. Residents of Lopez can go to sjcgis.org/aircraft-noise-reporting/. There is a county map where you can locate your location and submit a report of jet noise and leave a comment. Please use it.
“Your silence will not protect you” – Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals.