Town hiring consultant for independent review of EIS

Coupeville Town Council approved a request last week to hire two consultants to review and analyze the Navy’s draft Environmental Impact Statement on jets that practice at a nearby runway.

After looking over the document himself, Town Planner Owen Dennison said he reached out to a former colleague who has experience with this kind of study. She put him in touch with a noise specialist and both have agreed to work together to help the town provide comments on the draft EIS by the Jan. 25 deadline.

The draft study looks at the environmental impacts of an increase in the number of EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Growlers pilots practice aircraft carrier landings at Outlying Field Coupeville.

Dennison presented his idea to Town Council last week. The plan, he said, is to have the noise specialist specifically look at the jet noise data while the other consultant will do a general review for compliance of the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as other areas of importance identified by the council.

The noise specialist’s charges $280 an hour. The other consultant’s rate is $175 per hour.

“It is possible we could hire a consultant to peer review it and find nothing wrong with it,” Dennison said. “The benefit is unknown. This could be our best and only opportunity to influence the process.”

Dennison said the noise consultant would be looking at the noise data and model to verify the data is correct and and to determine if the appropriate model was used. What would be provided is a response letter with analysis material identifying any issues.

The Town Council agreed that the review would be a good idea.

“Having this kind of professional analysis that’s not biased in any way is kind of like having the state do our water analysis,” Councilwoman Catherine Ballay said. “There’s a lot of information out there that’s fueled by emotion.”

Councilmembers approved a proposed special services agreement with the two consultants, with an expense not to exceed $14,900. The town would have to advertise for bids if the contract was more than $15,000.

“It’s a no-brainer for me,” Councilwoman Jackie Henderson said. “It’s sort of our duty to put together as much information as possible.”

The council members also had scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday of this week to further discuss the areas of the EIS they want the consultant to focus on.

More in News

Man admits stealing from ice cream store

A 27-year-old man admitted to stealing from a Langley ice cream shop… Continue reading

Community Harvest feeds togetherness

Everyone is family at the North Whidbey Community Harvest’s Thanksgiving dinner. For… Continue reading

Coupeville holding annual potluck

n It’s time to eat some turkey, pour the gravy and give… Continue reading

Oak Harbor’s sewage plant up and running

Coupeville sludge helps kick start new facility

Beware of people seeking personal info to fix ballot

Voters who had an issue with the signature on their ballots should… Continue reading

Coalition’s big fundraiser Sunday at Greenbank Farm

The Whidbey Homeless Coalition is in the midst of one of its… Continue reading

Hits lead to drop in WhidbeyHealth Sept. revenue

WhidbeyHealth suffered an unplanned budget hit, making September “not such a good… Continue reading

Man charged with making threat

An assault was reported at a Clinton house that was the site… Continue reading

Photo by The Everett Herald / 2016
                                Todd Morrow
Island Transit board names choice for executive director

Island Transit’s board of directors picked as its new executive director an… Continue reading

Most Read