Letter: Is this the new normal for Whidbey Island residents?

Editor,

Is the Navy planning on “taking” Whidbey Island from us?

The secretary of the Navy has said the declared expansion is only returning to historical operation numbers of the late 1970s.

What he left out was they are returning to an historical PEAK during a time of war. After the war, these flight numbers fell dramatically, returning to established averages closer to 5,000 annual operations. Those numbers were used by the Navy to predict operational levels of 6,100 – the number used since 2005.

Incremental increases have already been occurring for the past three weeks with Growler jets flying everyday over Central Whidbey during the mornings, afternoons, early evenings and late nights. Operations that used to leave room for breaks now go for hours at a time with no noise interruptions. And they are flying on Fridays. It’s like living in a war zone – and it sure looks like the military has taken to making war on its own citizens. The 6,100 operations is a far cry from the 24,000 operations the Navy has planned over Central Whidbey and this region of Puget Sound.

The U.S is not at war, yet the Navy would have all of us accept this as a new normal. Well – it’s not normal and the operational numbers are totally out of balance with the region and it’s communities that have hosted the military.

This region has never sustained a plan for so many operations over living, vibrant and historical rural communities. This is new. No one in Northwest Washington has ever lived under this level of noise without knowledge of how long it will last. The DoD’s recent decision makes it look like cramming in more jets and flights into an overcrowded space might be their “forever” plan.

Congress has given hundreds of thousands of acres to the military for training, yet they want more. They now seem unwilling to share the land, air and sea and say crazy untrue things like “we were here first.” They appear to have no interest or concern that they are making all of us collateral damage for their trainings that could be elsewhere. Have the Pentagon and the Navy decided to make war on Northwest Washington — on Coupeville — on Americans? Is this the Navy’s new normal?

Patrick Hurley

Coupeville

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