The Department of Defense is speaking in Washington, D.C. double-speak.
Let’s be clear, expansion means more and reduction means less. But the Department of Defense’s Navy administrators want you to believe that their expansion of operations at Ault Field and OLF Coupeville — and the expansion of the number of Growler jets — is somehow less. They have sent a postcard to people’s homes that explains that this is a 30 percent reduction of an idea presented in a draft.
You can’t take credit for a reduction of something that did not exist. This is crazy thinking. Plus, if there really was a reduction, none of us would be having this conversation.
And the Department of Defense never proposes less.
Island County Commissioner Rick Hannold, during a recent public meeting, reframed “reduction” as a “restoration” of naval air operations. This is also not a restoration of the 1980s flight operations, this is an expansion.
Congressman Rick Larsen recently responded very clearly to this when he said, “only twice in the past 40 years have more than 50 percent of field carrier landing practices been conducted at the OLF in Coupeville.”
Besides, why would we want to restore anything from the 1980s? Isn’t this backwards thinking?
The total number of Growlers at NAS Whidbey will increase by 44 percent, yet the total number of FCLPs will increase 287 percent. FCLPs have the most impact on people, animals and on our environment.
Congressman Larsen also joined us in asking these questions about fairness and equity. OLF Coupeville will be getting 24,000 FCLPs, up from 6,100, which is 80 percent of all of the FCLPs planned.
The final EIS even states, “Only a small portion of original owners would experience the entire loss in property values associated with aircraft noise.”
Well, to the property owners who will “experience the entire loss in property value,” this seems rather significant. When many people’s savings are “their property,” and all that just disappears, who pays? It looks like the Department of Defense cares more about their air crews than the people who own the homes and businesses on the ground who pay the military’s bills.This feels like extreme overreach.
Does all of this sound like a reduction or a restoration to you? This made-in-Washington, D.C. plan has no business in Washington state or on Whidbey Island.
Call the governor at 360-902-4111 and tell him what you think, or go to the sounddefensealliance.org website to see what else you can do.