COER considering Growler lawsuit

Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, is considering litigation against the U.S. Navy over the noise from EA-18G Growler flights at the Outlying Field Coupeville.

Bob Wilbur, president of COER, said the group is looking at several possible litigation routes. The group may challenge the adequacy and accuracy of the Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act; it may also explore class action lawsuits based on property damage and takings, he said.

“There’s nothing concrete at this time,” he said.

A spokesman at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island provided a statement that said “it would not be appropriate to comment on the specifics of any potential or pending litigation.”

“The Navy completed a thorough and comprehensive Final Environmental Impact Statement that addresses all of the comments received during the six-year project satisfying the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act,” according to the statement.

The secretary of the Navy released a final decision earlier this year that will mean more Growlers at the base and a nearly fourfold increase of aircraft carrier landing practice at OLF Coupeville.

An estimated 350 people attended a Sound Defense Alliance rally against Growler noise last week at the Crockett Barn in Coupeville.

Sound Defense Alliance will not be involved in a lawsuit, according to a press release. But COER is holding an independent meeting to discuss litigation at 6 p.m., May 8 at the Crockett Barn. The public is welcome.

In 2013, COER filed a lawsuit against the Navy to force it to prepare a full EIS for the transition on Whidbey from the EA-6B Prowlers to the Growlers.

The Navy agreed to do the EIS, saying the decision to do so was made before the lawsuit was filed.

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