Navy needs input on transition to Growlers | Editorial

Residents have until Aug. 31 to offer their two cents on the possible environmental impacts of the Navy’s plans to transition Expeditionary Electronic Attack Squadrons (VAQ) to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The aging EA-6B Prowlers in the squadrons will be replaced with the newer EA-18G Growlers, beginning this year and continuing into 2014.

  • Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:28pm
  • News

Residents have until Aug. 31 to offer their two cents on the possible environmental impacts of the Navy’s plans to transition Expeditionary Electronic Attack Squadrons (VAQ) to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The aging EA-6B Prowlers in the squadrons will be replaced with the newer EA-18G Growlers, beginning this year and continuing into 2014.

The Navy extended the public comment period deadline for the draft Environmental Assessment in response to a request by Island County commissioners. A crowd of upset Coupeville residents attended a recent commissioner meeting to express concerns about increased jet noise. The problem was, many of the citizens were relying on a misunderstanding.

The expeditionary squadrons in question are land based, which means they don’t do carrier landing practices. As a result, the expeditionary squadrons, unlike the fleet VAQ squadrons, do not train at the Outlying Field near Coupeville. The environmental assessment for the carrier-based squadrons was completed years ago, which is why there are already Growlers in the sky.

People who live on North Whidbey, however, may notice a change in the future. The Navy’s assessment offers three alternative scenarios for the expeditionary transition. Depending on the alternative, the 12 Prowlers could be replaced by 21 or 26 Growlers. Yet the number of aircraft operations at Ault Field is expected to only increase by 2.7 or 3.1 percent. That translates to about 2,000 extra flights a year.

The Environmental Assessment concludes that the switch to Growlers will have no significant impact on noise for residents. In fact, slightly fewer people will be within the “noise contours” around the air strips.

Navy officials are strongly recommending that residents provide their comments on the environmental assessment so they can fully understand community concerns. Printed copies of the assessment are available at the Oak Harbor and Coupeville libraries. It’s available online at www.cnic.navy.mil. Comments may be emailed to Whdb_naswi_pao@navy.mil or may be mailed to: Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Public Works Department, Environmental Division, 1115 W. Lexington St., Oak Harbor, WA 98278

 

More in News

Coupeville School District delays in-person learning

The school will re-evaluate its reopening plans in January 2021.

Blood drive next week in Langley

South Whidbey residents will have a chance to give blood at a… Continue reading

South Whidbey Children’s Center recipient of $10,000 matching grant

The South Whidbey Children’s Center in Langley is hoping people will consider… Continue reading

Oak Harbor pool aiming to reopen Monday, Nov. 2

The commissioners also agreed to raise the fee to $5, up from $3.50, per half-hour reserved session.

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
Annalise Litchard, a barista at Rock Island Coffee, prepares a latte for a customer. The Oak Harbor coffee shop is closing on Halloween. Staff will be relocating to Sunshine Drip in Coupeville, Rock Island’s sister store.
Pandemic blamed for spate of business closures

Yet new stores continue to open despite challenges.

Oak Harbor spends $15,000 to gauge public opinion

The media monitoring software will hopefully help the city make decisions, staff said.

Hospital reports phony bill collector

WhidbeyHealth officials are warning about a scam artist who is calling residents… Continue reading

Most Read