After enjoying a slight respite from jet noise last autumn, it seems in the past few weeks the jets are back in full force, and seem to be louder than ever. I just found out the reason.
In mid-2013, Citizens of Ebey Reserve, a Coupeville group committed to getting the Navy to remove the EA-18G Growler jets from NAS Whidbey, succeeded in getting a temporary suspension of flight training at OLF Coupeville. Their lawsuit alleged that the field, built for World War II planes, does not meet Navy requirements for use with modern jets and has dangerous crash zones overlapping with homes and businesses. That suspension ended and the jets started flying again out of OLF on Jan. 6.
The Navy is proposing to continue and increase Growler operations at both Ault Field in Oak Harbor and OLF Coupeville. Since 2008, the flights at OLF increased 368 percent, and that number is likely to go up. COER poses the question on their website, “what rights do communities have today in regards to the military and government since 9-11? Are citizens required to allow their lives, environment, and livelihoods to be disrupted or even destroyed with no say in the matter?”
Coupeville is dealing with safety issues and the damaging effects of ongoing, high decibel noise on sleep, children’s behavior, hearing loss, and general health, issues that we on Lopez may want to pay attention to. The community has also noticed the severe repression of property values and effects on tourism and the economic well-being of their town.
On Feb. 12, Lopezians will have a chance to meet with the Citizens of Ebey Reserve.
For more information on how a regional effort might be able to convince the Navy to make some radical changes to its future plans and policies, join the representatives of Citizens of Ebey Reserve at Grace Church on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 4:30-6 p.m.
Lopez Island, south end