The following is an open letter written by Congressman Rick Larsen to Navy Admiral William “Bill” Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command:
Dear Admiral Gortney,
I am pleased that Fleet Forces Command has chosen to go forward with a full Environmental Impact Statement for EA-18G operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Ault Field and the Outlying Field, Coupeville.
I have long been committed to ensuring that NAS Whidbey Island remains one of the preeminent military installations used by our armed forces, while also ensuring that those who live near the base are not negatively impacted by base operations, a commitment I know I share with the Navy.
The transition from the EA-6B Prowler fleet to the EA-18G Growlers, and the decision to base all expeditionary squadrons of Growlers at NAS Whidbey, may change the operational tempo at the base and training fields with a possible impact on the surrounding community.
With a change in operations and with the number of proposed aircraft increasing since the 2005 and 2012 environmental assessments, this EIS is necessary to ensure all impacts to the base and community are considered.
This week brings the public scoping meetings for the EIS, and with them the opportunity for the community to present the Navy with its thoughts on operations at NAS Whidbey.
I know that, based on years of positive relations between the community, NAS Whidbey and the Navy, all concerns will be considered and respected.
Thank you for your continued service to our nation and I look forward to working with you in the future to ensure that NAS Whidbeyremains the best military air station throughout the Navy.
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen