Town supports jet noise study

Coupeville approved a letter in support of a grant application the Sound Defense Alliance submitted.

Coupeville Town Council approved a letter in support of a grant application the Sound Defense Alliance has submitted to research the effects of military aircraft noise pollution on human health and wellbeing.

At a public meeting earlier this month, Mayor Molly Hughes presented the letter, which the council members unanimously voted to send to the Population Health Initiative Grant Program at the University of Washington.

Sound Defense Alliance — in collaboration with Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, Quiet Skies Over San Juan County, an environmental scientist from Omfishient Consulting and two University of Washington professors — applied for a $200,000 grant from the University of Washington program to conduct its research.

The organizations’ proposed “Tier 3” project will expand on research they have already begun in a “Tier 2” study that was also funded by the Population Health Initiative.

The new research project aims to “scale the scientific and policy impact of our work by narrowing critical knowledge gaps at the noise-human health interface, and growing existing and new partnerships to support ongoing education, advocacy, and action at regional and national levels,” according to their letter of intent for the grant.

Hughes told the council that the proposed study will fill in critical gaps in jet noise impact research in a professional and respectful manner, which is why she recommended the town support it.

“There have been many volume and frequency studies, studies on the impact to wildlife, even studies on noise vibrations impacting historic buildings,” the town’s letter of support reads. “But an in-depth analysis of the human factor; the impact on sleep, health conditions, school children’s studies, and basic quality of life has not received the level of scrutiny that it deserves.”

The letter further states that the impact of military aircraft noise pollution is widespread across northwest Washington, and being able to quantify this impact is essential when making policy decisions, considering mitigation programs and evaluating any future proposed changes to aircraft activity at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.