Recently, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the Navy, alleging that the Environmental Impact Statement process used in determining the local impacts of the increased Growler jet activity from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island was inadequate.
The lawsuit says that the methods used by the Navy in the EIS were not adequate to accurately predict the noise impacts generated by the expansion of Growler flights. We need accurate noise data in order to identify appropriate mitigation measures, as required by the EIS process. It is the attorney general’s responsibility to make sure the EIS process is followed properly to protect our local communities.
I have heard from hundreds of area residents on all sides of this topic and, unfortunately, it has torn our community apart for the past several years. The most important thing to remember as we move forward is that we are neighbors, and that we have much in common. Navy families and civilians alike, we share the desire to live in a healthy and vibrant community.
NAS Whidbey Island is a major economic engine in our region and is strategically positioned for international response. Its mission is vital to protecting our national security. The Navy’s social and economic contributions to our local communities — as well as the essential training of pilots and the value of NAS Whidbey facilities — are well understood and not in question here.
The AG focused his challenge on the process used in the EIS. He simply said the Navy must follow the same rules as any other entity in an EIS process and identify the actual impacts of expanding their activities in our region.
Helen Price Johnson
Island County commissioner, District 1