The recent commentary by state Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, exposes her as a disappointing representative who flirts with the truth and supports the “big guys” over the concerns of the rest of us (“Commentary: Bob Ferguson’s war a threat to Whidbey Island Navy base,” The Herald, July 21). And who’s bigger than our military?
Bailey can be counted on to favor business over labor and working-class interests. As a member of the Washington Military Alliance she can be counted on to support all things military. She’s also a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, funded by the ultra-rich Koch Brothers. As a senator she flunks on most issues that are important to our district: clean water and air, protection of our public lands and local land use policies, fair working wages, endangered species, and etc. The League of Conservation Voters gave her one of the lowest ratings on protecting our environment.
Barbara’s also wrong about the economy. The military revenue to our state ranks below telecom, forestry, tourism, agriculture, outdoor recreation – it has a large footprint and creates a lot of pollution. The only economic study that has been done regarding the military was by economist Michael Shuman. (The full report: https://sustainable-economy-collaborative.com/report/)
Between 2010-21, these costs will be about $122 million. While the Navy wants to dismiss these costs, decision-makers need to give them serious consideration. Bailey should be trying to minimize them costs by pressing the Navy to modify the Growler program (perhaps by moving training); and to compensate victims of adverse Growler noise or toxic chemicals impacts.
Facts and the truth matter. The attorney general’s lawsuit seeks to require the Navy to comply with federal law and honestly examine the impacts of their Growler expansion.