Langley urged to oppose Growler expansion

‘This will have ripple effects on South Whidbey’

The Navy’s proposed increase in Growler jet operations in Coupeville is bound to affect tourism and residents on South Whidbey, Langley city council members were warned Monday by an organization opposing the military plan.

“While this seems a central and north island issue, it is our issue in many ways,” said Vicki Robin with Sound Defense Alliance, a coalition of Puget Sound groups opposing the Department of Defense expansion plan.

Robin pointed out that increasing the operations of EA-18G Growlers at Outlying Field Coupeville will increase the number of times people in the area — including visitors — are irritated by the intense noise of the loud warplanes.

Tourism, housing, agriculture and what the alliance calls “the hidden costs of the military presence” were outlined by Robin and Dianna MacLeod.

Sound Defense Alliance representatives asked the council to consider passing a resolution to oppose the Navy’s proposed expansion of EA-18G Growlers, which has been the subject of numerous public meetings, protests and political controversy the past two years.

Council members plan to obtain more information about the issue and discuss a possible resolution at the next meeting, Jan. 21.

“Coupeville is only 25 miles away,” council member Christy Korrow pointed out. “These are legitimate concerns about the tourism economy, housing and water.”

Value of properties under the flight path will decrease, which lowers the amount of taxes collected by Island County, Robin said.

Additionally, farmers in Ebey’s Reserve may find it intolerable to continue small-scale operations, she said.

“When the jets are flying, you simply cannot do field work without layers of ear protection,” she said, adding that some of the island’s best organic farmers “may simply stop farming.”

The Navy’s “preferred alternative” from its Environmental Impact Statement — which has yet to be finalized and may be delayed because of the federal government partial shutdown — increases touch and go operations of the Navy warplanes nearly fourfold.

Many aspects of tourism could be affected, MacLeod said, including outdoor recreation such as whale watching, kayaking, diving and boating and the restaurants, wineries, hotels and inns that cater to visitors.

“Allowing the island to become a giant military staging ground will cripple the tourism industry and threaten small businesses,” MacLeod said. “This will certainly have ripple effects on South Whidbey.”

Langley resident and philanthropist Nancy Nordhoff also urged the council to get involved.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years and I’ve seen the division diminish between north and central and south Whidbey,” she said. “What harms any one of our cities affects us all. Let people know Langley is here and Langley cares.”

More in News

Burning bans likely to come earlier this year

This year, the fire forecasts provided by the state Department of Natural… Continue reading

Whidbey Queer Pride Parade postponed

May be canceled this year, organizers say

Coupeville ferry loses boat later this month

A complicated confluence of considerations means a cut in service for the… Continue reading

Rep. Larsen adds provisions to Defense Act to address jet noise

The Navy may end up conducting real-time noise monitoring of EA-18G Growler… Continue reading

Conservation Futures grant may help preserve shoreline property

An Island County Commissioner is seeking public input before deciding which land… Continue reading

Backups expected as ferry gets dockside checkup

Just as the tourism season is kicking into high gear, the Clinton-to-Mukilteo… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth gets good news for budget

Medicare money and swing beds to help hospital’s financial woes

WhidbeyHealth CEO apologizes for Clinton clinic chaos

‘We want to take care of this community’

Clearcut swath on Maxwelton Road will be replanted

State permit allows 16 acres of timber harvest

Most Read