‘Fringe group’ seeks base closure, not compatibility

Editor,

Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve and other fringe groups have expanded their operations and under-the-table influence over the past years. On the surface, they claim “we want to ensure compatibility,” but, in reality, they are about closing Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and all military training in any area, at any cost.

Simply put, their “core” is anti-military and, by extension, anti-Island County — where 60 percent of all jobs and 80 percent-plus of economic activity is driven by the Navy.

And now, we have more proof: COER gleefully proclaimed “victory” on their website after their cabal helped “defeat” State House Bill 2341.

Tragically, this bill’s purpose was to “require local planning studies to consider how to mitigate and avoid incompatible growth around military installations” — just what the fringe groups claim in public.

Yet, they invested significant dollars and time to defeat this in private. They don’t want compatibility – they want closure.

Meanwhile, the Navy continues to perform real community value — recently won the Environmental Stewardship Award for their work both off base and on-base — leading 75 percent recycling rate, investing millions in environmental programs.

Maybe the fringe can do some work that has real value to our community and environment – in lieu of eliminating the county’s economic base and best aviation training in the United States?

Scott Smith

Anacortes

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