As former Whidbey residents who lived directly under the flight path of the Navy jets, we can sympathize with those who are affected.
We love Coupeville and left Whidbey after eight years because we could not tolerate the daily jet noise.
We were answering business calls from our home and could not hear or be heard on the other end of the line.
We are not “against” the Navy and both of us worked with and for the Navy while we lived there.
We also had and still do have many friends who are a part of the Navy family. We appreciate the work that is done for the protection of all of us.
The truth is, if this landing strip near Coupeville was a commercial airport, this use would not be tolerated.
The airport would either buy the land in the flight path or the airport would be moved.
They would do this for protection and to prevent a future lawsuit.
The dangers of living in a flight path are not limited to noise.
There is a very real physical safety issue that must have been brought home to the people of Whidbey several weeks ago when one of the Naval planes crashed in Eastern Washington.
When we built our house, we were told that the Navy jets flew just a few times per month and never past 10 p.m.
The day we decided to sell our home, the flights started at 9 a.m. in the morning and were still going at 11 p.m. that night.
They had been continuously flying five days a week for over a month.
The planes flew so close overhead we could see the pilots faces.
When we listed our home the Realtor told us he had a similar house that was also in the flight path that had been on the market for four years unable to be sold.
We thought ourselves fortunate in that we quickly found a buyer who was hard of hearing.
That was a “perfect match” for the Navy and for us, however it did not benefit our neighbors who continued to live under the duress of the deafening sound.
Noise pollution with the Navy goes beyond the jets flying over Coupeville.
The Navy’s use of underwater sonar which is deafening and killing whales, dolphins and other sea life is a world-wide issue.
We have been aware of this issue for 20-plus years and the destruction it causes to sea life.
This is an issue in your area and mammals have died as a result of this in the recent past.
Recently we posted three petitions on line asking NOAA to deny the Navy’s request to harm, maim and deafen cetaceans 31 million times over the next five years, more than doubling what they requested in previous years.
Many people were outraged, resulting in approximately 750,000 people asking that the sound be stopped until non lethal technologies were put in place.
This past month the California Coastal Commission denied its support to the Navy who were requesting to continue this sound.
This “no” was primarily due to the Navy’s utter disrespect of keeping their agreements in the previous five years, deliberately leaving 24 species — some endangered — off their list of potential harm, their refusal to explore other less harmful means and the arrogance displayed in letting the Coastal Commission know that they followed their “own rules” and had utter disregard for what any other agency requested.
It is easy for those with power to become accustomed to doing whatever they deem expedient, convenient or easy to suit their own agenda.
The threat of war is often used as a justification for activities which would otherwise not be tolerated.
The problem with this thinking is that there can always be an outside threat.
It is impossible to simultaneously protect and harm, and there is a better way.
The Navy noise issue, whether it is in the air or in the sea, is an example of this tendency and needs to be stopped.
The Navy has other options to accomplish their mission.
We just hope that it does not take a tragedy for change to happen.
Lance Leonard and Lyndia Storey