Sound Defense plans to continue Growler protests

The Secretary of the Navy made a final decision regarding EA-18G Growler aircraft on Whidbey Island, but the protests over jet noise haven’t stopped.

The group Sound Defense Alliance has organized events throughout the region as part of the continued “No new jets. No new flights” campaign.

One of the events, called “Fight not Flight,” will be 5:30-7:30 p.m., in Central Whidbey at the Crockett Barn, 1056 S. Crockett Farm Road.

The event is free and open to the public; beer, wine and light refreshments will be served.

“People can share their experiences with the Growler jet increases, learn about plans for community action, and find ways to get involved,” event organizer Ann Harvey said.

Sound Defense Alliance is an umbrella group for other organizations in the Puget Sound region, including Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER.

The Navy will be bringing 36 more Growlers to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Under the Secretary of the Navy’s decision, 80 percent of the aircraft carrier landing practice will take place at Outlying Field Coupeville; it will be nearly a quadrupling of the annual number of flights.

“Across Puget Sound, and especially in Coupeville, people are witnessing new jets, new patterns, new close calls and much more noise than they experienced in the past,” said Marianne Brabanski a retired audiologist and board member of COER.

The Navy has said OLF Coupeville provides superior training for landing on aircraft carriers, which is a risky maneuver for pilots.

Also, the other option for training — at the Ault Field base — is congested with other aircraft and flights there expose a greater number of people to the Growler noise.

Sound Defense Alliance is holding events around the region to inform and engage the public, according to a press release. Following events in Forks, Port Angeles and Port Townsend are ones in Lopez Island, Anacortes and Camano Island.

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