After years of testimonies and commentaries and public meetings and protests, the Navy has determined what it already knew — that, despite the proven and possible harms to health, historic buildings, local businesses, small farms, tourism and our rural way of life, they will stay the course with a four-fold increase of Growler jet pilot training over Central Whidbey.
Here’s what I will miss:
• The silence of the forest and beach walks on Ebey’s prairie;
• The friends who will likely move away because they can’t live with that noise;
• The produce from the farms that will shut down, and the farmers who may move away;
• The local businesses that may not survive a downturn as tourists and customers avoid the Coupeville area;
• The sense — perhaps a fiction — that we who live here get a voice in what happens here. I’ve attended many meetings and events and hearings where small groups to nearly 500 people struggle to both express our outrage and share our considerable professional knowledge of soils, acoustics, health, toxins, political strategies, the law, the Navy’s own specifications and more.
Ours is not the first island that the U.S. military has used for training and testing despite the harm caused to residents.