Provisions in Defense Act may address jet noise

The Navy may end up conducting real-time noise monitoring of EA-18G Growler aircraft after all.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, was able to get several of his priorities into the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Among them are provisions to address military jet noise reduction research, conduct noise monitoring and create a report on available programs and authorities to mitigate the effects of military aircraft noise on private residences, schools and hospitals.

In addition, Larsen successfully included an amendment creating a $5-million pilot program to install noise mitigation at private residences impacted by military jet noise, according to his office.

Noise monitoring became an issue on Whidbey Island during the Environmental Impact Statement process for bringing additional Growlers to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and increasing training flights at both the Ault Field base and Outlying Field Coupeville.

Many people were skeptical of the Navy’s reliance on computer noise monitoring. Larsen, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, local officials and activists all asked for “real-world” noise monitoring.

Navy officials, however, declined.

Larsen’s proposal, however, would require the Navy and the Air Force to conduct noise monitoring “at no fewer than three installations per military department where tactical fighter aircraft operate regularly and noise contours have been developed through noise modeling,” according to his office.

“The House NDAA includes important requirements to address the impacts of jet-noise in local communities,” Larsen said. “The Central Whidbey community has made clear their support for real-time noise monitoring around Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and I am listening to my constituents.”

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