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COER touches down at Freeland church

Justin Burnett / The Record Ken Pickard, a leading member of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, speaks at a meeting in Freeland. The group is trying to permanently close the U.S. Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville. - Justin Burnett / The Record
Justin Burnett / The Record Ken Pickard, a leading member of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, speaks at a meeting in Freeland. The group is trying to permanently close the U.S. Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / The Record

A group of Central Whidbey residents fighting to close the U.S. Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville brought their case to Freeland Wednesday.

Hosted by the Whidbey Island Fellowship of Reconciliation, Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve leaders presented their case to a small crowd of about 15 people,  several of whom were North Whidbey residents, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

Group leaders, consisting of Ken Pickard, Michael Monson and Maryon Attwood talked briefly about a recent trip to Washington D.C., where they lobbied their cause to federal lawmakers and officials at the Pentagon.

“It was a little euphoric,” said Pickard, in reference to what described as a positive experience.

The rest of the meeting largely consisted of information about Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, it’s plans for growth and the militaries long-range role in the region.

The group, commonly referred to as COER, filed a lawsuit last year asking the courts to force the Navy to perform a detailed study looking at noise generated by the EA-18G Growler aircraft. The Navy agreed to do the study, and operations at the airfield have largely been on hold ever since.

The Navy has maintained its right to use the airstrip, however, and announced operations would be held Friday, April 25. Members of COER said they planned to attend.

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