Letter: Navy report is at odds with science, research


Jennifer Meyers recent letter, April 5, noted that Oak Harbor school teachers have complained about jet noise impacting their teaching, but that no teachers from Coupeville have complained. If so and now informed, that may soon change.

She also noted that the Coupeville schools are not in the 65 DNL. Well, the Navy actually kind of fudged on that if you look at their DNL maps, which place the schools either in or just barely out, depending on the fudge line of your choice.

Note, however, that when the Navy conducted actual on-the-ground noise monitoring instead of models, it had been asked by local leaders to monitor sound at the Coupeville schools. Navy rejected that request, opting instead to monitor two low-profile redundant sites: the Coupeville water tower where no one lives, and a house on the western edge of Admirals Cove development. So, no real data do we have for Coupeville’s schools.

But Jennifer goes on to note that the Environmental Impact Statement decided there is insufficient data for the Navy to conclude that classroom learning (or home study) is detrimentally impacted by Growler noise interruptions. Yep, she is right, they actually did say that.

And with that the Navy put itself at direct odds with the overwhelming research findings and conclusions of education experts and noise scientists across the globe. Might that be one of those reasons why the judge flagged the Navy’s EIS for its pervasive use questionable (alternative) facts that supported its purpose?

That aside, Jennifer did seem to agree that education in Oak Harbor was affected, at least the teachers there complain about it. We agree and share her concern, which joins many other reasons why the Growler field carrier landing practices need to be relocated to an appropriate more welcoming off-Whidbey location and where schools would not be impacted.

Robert Wilbur