The recent letter sent by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to the Secretary of the Navy echoes the region’s concerns in a long list of mitigations and considerations for the Navy to address. Some of these include: adverse effects on historical structures, agriculture and tourism. Members recognized that Growler jet noise would impact more than Central Whidbey.
This review has brought to light the magnitude of the harms that will be caused by the Navy’s proposed increase in Growler Jet flights and operations and the Navy’s failed process to protect historic properties. They have acknowledged and validated the public’s concerns expressed on the insufficient mitigations offered by the Navy to reduce, minimize or mitigate Growler jet noise.
Council members agreed that the Navy’s methods of measuring noise may have been too narrow – leaving out over 40 historic properties in Port Townsend. The ACHP suggests noise monitoring, adding its voice to requests for noise monitoring by the EPA, the Governor, and the State Department of Health.
The ACHP received more than 250 written comments on the Navy’s proposed undertaking from consulting partners, members of the public, the Governor’s office, and from members of Congress. As a part of developing comments, the ACHP staff hosted a public meeting in Coupeville in December, attended by over 400 people from throughout Northwest Washington. The message from the public for noise reduction was clear and consistent.
The Secretary of the Navy will soon make his record of decision on the Growler jet expansion. It remains to be seen if the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Secretary of the Navy will respond to the thousands of people from throughout the region who have commented on a failed process that has produced a proposal too big and too harmful for our region. There is still time for the Navy to reduce its Growler jet expansion proposal and to demonstrate its responsiveness to the public they serve.
Regardless of what the DoD and the Navy decide to do - Sound Defense Alliance will continue its efforts to reduce Growler jet noise and to work toward reducing the number of jets, flights, and locations of Growler jet training on Whidbey Island and across our region.
For more about the Sound Defense Alliance and the No New Jets, No New Fights Campaign visit, sounddefensealliance.org.
The SDA Legislative Committee:
Mark Lundsten, Anacortes;
Ian MacGowan, Freeland;
Michael Monson, Coupeville;
Larry Morrell, Port Townsend;
Maryon Attwood, Coupeville;
Chris Hurley, Seattle;
Brian Silverstein, Lopez island;
Rob Smith, Seattle