I listened to the recent summary judgment hearing in federal court before Judge J. Richard Creatura. Frankly, the entire hearing was a waste of a good 90 minutes because plaintiffs did not spell out a clear “remedy” or solution upon request – other than consider moving all Field Carrier Landing Practice to NALF El Centro or possibly, if the assistant attorney general had her way, nullifying the Navy’s EIS while Growlers keep bouncing.
One would think that if these harms of EA-18G Growler noise were so harmful, plaintiffs would remove themselves from the situation and demand compensation for the costs of doing so. Instead, we have COER enlisting the Attorney General of Washington to demand further study on one airfield out of five that the Navy studied as per Section 18.104.22.168 of Volume I of their EIS.
As per Page 2-19 of the Navy’s EIS, the Navy considered requests from Central Whidbey to reduce the number of Growlers at NAS Whidbey Island but found, “Relocating new aircraft at alternative locations would degrade the Growler community’s overall effectiveness and does not meet the purpose of and need of the Proposed Action.” For plaintiffs’ to claim they do not want to step in the way of national defense, degrading “overall effectiveness” is their agenda.
I should add in case anyone forgot that I have stood 525 feet or closer to the sounds and sights of EA-18Gs at Outlying Field Coupeville to my great enjoyment. So clearly I support the Navy.
Finally, I’m disappointed no pro-Navy civilian voices were able to intervene professionally in that hearing. One can lob all the social media comments and letters to the editor they wish, but the judge cannot hear you. I hope in the new year, some courageous city attorney can intervene for all of us.
Joe A. Kunzler