Letter: Central Whidbey is trying to fight for its future

Editor,

Central Whidbey is fighting for its future and we need your help. Ignoring their own guiding principle not to use one site for a military function, the Navy is moving all of their electronic warfare jets to Whidbey Island. Forty years ago, landowners on Ebey’s prairie, the Town of Coupeville, Island County and Washington State Parks collaborated to create Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Residents gave over development rights so that future generations could enjoy the beauty and stillness of undeveloped land and farm the incredibly rich soil.

The Navy determined that this pristine environment with its low light, clean air and surrounding waters is ideal for aircraft landing practice (FCLP).

The outlying field (OLF) in Coupeville has historically been used for 20 percent of FCLP, with 80 percent in Oak Harbor.

They plan to reverse this, with nearly 24,000 Growler E/A-18G jet flights at the OLF. The Navy requires 30,000 open acres around an airstrip – the OLF has 750 acres. Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, responded to Rep. Rick Larsen’s concerns about this move by referencing the low population density.

We are a community whose income is based primarily on tourism and agriculture. These are the loudest aircraft in the force and pollute the air and land.

The influx of jets flying anytime from daylight to midnight, most often when the weather is fair, will decimate our economy and our quality of life. WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, WAIF Shelter, Ryan’s House and the 400 homes in Admirals Cove, among others, are directly in the flight path. Island County will be forced to create Accident Potential Zones reducing property rights and values in areas at high risk for jet crashes. FCLP consists of low flying touch and go, with noise at levels known to cause harm to humans and wildlife.

The Navy ignored requests by State agencies, environmental groups and hundreds of citizens to use actual noise monitoring instead of outdated “modeling.”

We humans and wildlife will become collateral damage, and the Navy does not care a whit.

We need your voices raised to save this precious part of Whidbey Island. Sound Defense Alliance is working to avert this disaster. Please check out their website at sounddefensealliance.org to sign the petition and see other ways you can help. Thank you!

Becky Wagner

Coupeville

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