Navy extends comment period on Growler study

Navy officials have extended the comment period for a draft Environmental Impact Statement by 30 days after requests from elected officials and community members.

The original comment period to respond to the draft EIS regarding increased EA-18G Growler aircraft operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island was set to conclude Jan. 25, which gave people 75 days to comment.

The new end date is Friday, Feb. 24, according to Navy officials.

Publicy, the request for a prolonged comment period first came from groups concerned about the Growlers’ impact on the environment, which included Central Whidbey’s Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and state Gov. Jay Inslee also urged the Navy for the extension after hearing from constituents and others who struggled to provide feedback by the original deadline, according to a press release issued by Larsen’s office.

“We urge you to extend the ongoing public comment period … given the range of scenarios under consideration, the variety of impacts analyzed, and the resulting length of the draft Environmental Impact Study, we believe a 30 day extension would give the public a greater opportunity to share comments with the Navy,” the federal lawmakers wrote in a letter to the Navy.

Ted Brown, Fleet Forces public affairs officer, said last month that the holiday season was taken into account and an additional 30 days was built in over the required 45 days for EIS drafts.

With the extension, the draft EIS comment period will total 105 days.

“We understand this a very complex document and we want to give the community every opportunity to read and provide comments,” Brown said.

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