Commentary Noise from Navy Growlers will hurt Whidbey economy

This opinion is in response to state Sen. Barbara Bailey’s recent commentary (“Bob Ferguson’s war a threat to Whidbey Navy base,” The Herald, July 21. The Navy’s proposed fourfold increase in low-altitude flights on Whidbey Island will result in noise levels high enough to cause pain, deafness and ill health. Prolonged exposure to jet noise has been associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

(See “The Adverse Effects of Environmental Noise Exposure on Oxidative Stress and Cardiovascular Risk”: tinyurl.com/NCBInoisestudy )

As a resident whose home is under one of the flight paths, I, my neighbors and anyone visiting, can inform Bailey that the noise generated by the Growler jets permeates the indoor environment of a home or building as well as the area outside with an earth-shaking rumble and deafening roar. We have measured over 90 decibels indoors, and over 120 decibels outside. During flight operations, the effects are continuous for hours as one jet is followed by another. The Navy’s use of the field near Coupeville and Ault Field has gotten out of hand and it is time for citizens to say “enough!”

The Department of the Navy decision-makers in Washington D.C. can find and act on a better plan that is more balanced. Having increased Growler operations in one area is not safe and it is not healthy for all living things in that area. We and our children need to be protected. The children rely on us for their safety and health and we are happy that the state attorney general has filed suit to protect us.

We are not anti-Navy. We are anti-Growler jet noise and its harmful effects!

We value our environment, our rural economy and our historic character. This is the home of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. The exponential increase in jet missions will drive people and visitors away from Whidbey. This place will have no value and no purpose if there’s no one who can enjoy it.

This month, friends of ours from Montana camped at Deception Pass and were horrified by the ear-shattering Growler noise during the afternoon and evening. The jets flew directly overhead, and so low, the campers could see the jet’s lights through the ceiling of their tent. The noise was so unbearable they departed the campsite as soon as they could. Driving people away is a cost to our economy.

I remain confident that the Navy will see that the recent decision to place increased number of Growlers here is unsustainable and that the Navy will make a new plan with balance for our citizens and the region.

Karen Ramey

Coupeville

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