2016 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:53:50 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] NOISE, CLOSURE: Naval Outlying Landing Field Coupeville (WA): "Its time has passed"
An Analysis of the Arguments
by Robert Wilbur, Maryon Atwood, Neal Sims , Mark HarmonTechnical Committee of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve
October  2016

"In this white paper, Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) examines the arguments surrounding the Navy’s use of Outlying Field Coupeville (OLFC) and provides the following compelling evidence and arguments from which we conclude it is time to decommission OLFC and relocate the training:"

To download the White Paper, go to http://citizensofebeysreserve.com/Files/White-Paper-Final-Oct-17.docx


"1.     The Navy claims OLFC as an ideal training location for flight carrier landing practice (FCLP). In reality, however, it fails to provide the desired for “as-you-fight” training needs: wrong density altitude, wrong runway length, wrong darkness needs, wrong wind direction, wrong amount of surrounding acreage, and wrong compliance with the Navy’s own Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) planning document prepared to ensure  community health and well-being.  
2.     To counter public resistance the Navy has tried to convince the Whidbey Island community that OLFC was “here first,” which seems a rather desperate concoction to mask simple history. Constructed in WWII as an emergency landing strip, OLFC lay largely dormant until the late 1960s when the Navy activated it for FCLP use. Both Coupeville and the Admirals Cove development were here before the Navy imposed FCLPs on this historic town and its surrounding community.
3.     The Navy never conducted an Environmental Impact Statement for its Prowlers or its Growlers, and the Environmental Assessments that were conducted used cherry-picked and manipulated data to produce the desired finding of no significant impact. Under that light, what credibility might be expected from the ongoing EIS?
4.     The current military jets using OLFC (the EA-18G Growlers) emit unparalleled noise and yet they are conducting FCLPs at just altitudes under 500 feet, which is actually forbidden by the FAA, as codified by the U.S. Supreme Court. In so doing, they have created an undefendable civilian health risk, including both hearing and systemic impacts related to high-intensity, low-frequency sound pressure that penetrates into body organs. 
5.     In examining the significant health risks that the toxic Growler noise has created for exposed civilians, Dr. James Dalgren (UCLA professor on staff at Cedars Sinai Hospital) concluded that "the Navy has created a public health emergency at Central Whidbey Island," which he qualified as increased risk of “more strokes, more severe strokes, strokes at a younger age, cardiovascular events such as arrhythmias, heart attacks, hypertension, psychological damage such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks, along with sleep disorders, weight gains, hearing loss, tinnitus, and in children, especially, troubling learning disorders and attention deficit disorder."
6.     For its military and civilian staff, the Navy’s has required identification of  “hazardous noise areas,” All personnel working in such areas must be enrolled in a program that requires routine health monitoring and proper training and mandatory use of effective hearing protection devices.  Residential areas under the OLFC racetrack, however, far exceed the Navy’s threshold for designation of a hazardous noise zone. No such protections have been offered for the residential areas under the OLFC racetrack; instead, the Island County Health Department, adopted a resolution denying any health issues related to FCLPs, presumably because to do so was politically inconvenient.
7.     The Growler’s F-18 airframe is one of the most accident-prone military airframes in existence. Between 1980 and 2014 the F-18 sustained 39 incidents, while its predecessor, the EA-6B (Prowler), sustained just 7 incidents. Uncorrected for the far greater number of sorties flown by the Prowler, the F-18 airframe is minimally 5.5 times more likely to sustain an incident than the Prowler. And the most dangerous aspects of flying—approach and takeoff—occur 6000 to more than 9000 times right over the rooftops of residences within the FCLP zone.
8.     Growler noise is clearly incompatible with Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, the first Historical Reserve in the Nation. While Growler FCLPs can be relocated, this National Park and its vulnerable structures cannot. A 2016 sound study concluded that noise in the park at 2016 levels is a problem of concern.
9.     The OLFC issue can only be resolved by politicians accepting their duty responsibility to the public and applying their influence on the Navy to make them understand that the time has come decommission OLFC and move the Growler FCLP training to an environmentally appropriate location."

Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice/Fax: 650/961-8918 

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