Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson just filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy over the Navy’s expansion of its EA-18G Growler airfield operations on Whidbey Island. The expansion adds 36 Growler jets to the fleet, and the number of airfield flights is scheduled to increase to nearly 100,000 annual takeoffs and landings, for an estimated 30 years.
Like a number of Lopezians, I’ve read significant portions of the Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Whidbey Growler expansion and am shocked at how overtly this document fails to honestly acknowledge the impacts to public health and wildlife in communities on and around Whidbey Island, including Lopez Island. The AG agrees, and in its lawsuit charges that the Navy’s EIS arbitrarily dismissed impacts to human health and child learning from increased noise, despite many studies indicating that exposure to noise can lead to adverse health outcomes. And it argues that the Navy failed to conduct adequate analysis on the impacts the expansion would have on wildlife in the area, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
The Navy has an obligation to follow the law and ensure adequate mitigation for its actions. Thank you, Attorney General Ferguson, for defending the environment and communities from extreme noise from the Navy jets.
For information on local efforts on this issue and to report noisy Navy flyovers, please visit www.quietskies.info. For more on the broad coalition of communities across the Salish Sea affected by the Growlers, visit sounddefensealliance.org.