A new list of facts from the Citizens for Ebey’s Landing

The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, the people who have been fighting the Navy’s expansion and noise issues on Whidbey Island for decades, put together this short list of facts that are worth noting. Those of us on the Olympic Peninsula, especially those who might be affected by the Navy’s latest expansion of electronic warfare training, should clearly understand what they are facing with the proposed expansion of the Whidbey base. We do have a choice, at least on paper, to stop this expansion. So here’s some facts to think about when the Navy (or our politicians) claims that they can ‘mitigate’ the noise.

  • The Navy has never had a requirement for engine noise in the design of engines for jet aircraft.
  • Low-level Growler flight noise exceeds ALL National & State standards for noise emissions. Third party noise testing at real sites under real jets proves just how loud these jets really are.
  • Growler afterburners increase jet noise levels by 5 to 10 dB. These occur during touch & goes.
  • Aircraft noise exposure is a hazard that poses a significant public health risk for hearing loss, hypertension and stress. University of Washington researchers conducted a survey of articles on Aircraft Noise and Adult Health Impacts.  They found that noise causes hearing loss, stress hormones, immune toxicity, psychosocial impacts and cognition, cardiac implications such as, heart attacks and death.
  • The Navy’s Auditors found:
    • According to Navy evaluators, the EA-18G emits, a maximum of 150 dBs. Anything greater than 84 dBs is considered hazardous! According to DOD Instruction 6055.12, at a noise level of 150 dB, the maximum daily exposure time with hearing protection is only 8.9 seconds before permanent hearing loss occurs!
    • The Navy did not attempt to mitigate jet noise hazard in the initial design and development of the aircraft, did not follow required guidance relating to risk levels and risk acceptance authority levels, and have not tracked the flightline/deck jet noise hazard and its residual mishap risk.
    • These conditions may contribute to a hazardous environment of high noise exposure associated with jet aircraft that, according to the Naval Safety Center, increases the likelihood of permanent hearing loss. Mitigation of these known noise levels was not pursued, as noted in this report, because of the costs to retrofit these aircraft with chevrons.
  • According to Navy personnel Growler Hush Houses only hush about 120 operations out of 76,000 operations at NASWI. As a result, the San Juan’s get blasted with Growler noise, day & night.
  • Chevrons cut Growlers noise ONLY by about 2.5 to 3dB and the financial cost is HIGH! The JSF Joint Program Office initiated a study to investigate reducing the F-35 near-field personnel noise and far-field community noise. It was the conclusion of the study that … at best they only offer a few decibels (dB) of reduction and even less for the peak noise at a distance of 1,000ft from the aircraft.
  • The Navy wants 122 to 136 Growlers at NASWI. Flight paths are getting bigger, more jets fly more hours & noise is more constantAdd P8 training and Cumulative Noise becomes a bigger problem.
  • Growlers are conducting Electronic Warfare Training over Whidbey and the Olympic National Forest – the ONLY stationary electromagnetic emitter is at OLF & it could be affecting your health.
  • The “Navy was here first” claim is not only wrong but also a misrepresentation of facts. Even if “first” were to be logical and establish a cast-in-stone priority of sorts, the aboriginal population of Whidbey Island would be first, the European settlers second, and the historic town of Coupeville third, the Navy being a relative Johnny-come-lately, not arriving until the 1940s.
  • There are many alternative fields for the Navy to use as a super-jet training site and/or for FCLP training. For 11 months the Navy used alternative sites – they could do this training elsewhere.
  • The Navy’s Northwest Training & Testing Center along with Growler’s live-fire testing will severely impact birds, fish and mammals in Puget Sound, including our critically endangered Orcas.
  • The facts are there — to show the millions of dollars that will be lost to tourism, outdoor recreation, the arts, agriculture and other sectors of the economy as a result of Growlers & unprecedented Navy expansion.

5 Responses

  1. Thanks. I’m going to explore this issue further. It still seems impossible to me.

  2. We live in Shirley on the southwestern shore of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, across from Sequim etc., and lately not only do we hear the Growlers, my husband, a pilot who can recognize any aircraft from the sound it makes as it flies, is positive they are flying over us, in Canadian airspace. We’d like to know if the USN has Canadian govt permission to expand their flyover area into Canada. I also discovered and published here that Esterline Pacific Aerospace & Electronics in Sequim does explosive welding & bonding which creates shock waves which reach across the Strait and shake our houses with a concussive energy wave after which rattles windows. A great many of us here support your efforts to get this info out, and are in touch with our elected reps.

    • Helene. I agree with your husband’s assumptions, and would add that I don’t personally think that the Esterline issue is the root cause of the noise you hear. Diamond point is 35 Nautical miles away from Sooke, and the sound would easily be much greater in locations much closer than Sooke. It is much closer to my house, which is down the Strait only 8 miles away. I have never heard it, and I sleep with my windows open. I can hear the Navy jets taking off and landing, and going down the Strait, and often do, sometimes as late as midnight. I’m 17 miles from the base. So people would hear the Esterline explosions much louder in Sequim, Port Townsend, and Port Angeles before you heard it in Sooke. I think that it’s much more likely that it is Navy planes, going supersonic. The captain of the wing that trains the pilots admitted on stage in front of hundreds of people last year that he sometimes has to discipline pilots for going supersonic, and wouldn’t be surprised if people did occasionally hear them doing that.

      • Hi Al, thank you so much for your comments.
        Joe Munn, variously described as Esterline PA&E operations director, mgr, or director of its bonded metals division, admitted to the editor of the Sooke PocketNews Britt Santowski last week their explosions can be heard/felt as far away as Sooke.
        The timing of when we feel/hear them here always coincide with their explosions.
        We hear the jets all times of the day and night, and the only time we feel/hear the sonic booms and shock waves are when Esterline PA&E do explosive welding/bonding, most of the time it’s on Thursdays, usually in the morning.
        The Growlers have nothing to do with it from our side, although they seem to be within Canadian airspace and that surely needs to be addressed.
        In general there is a huge uptick in the amount of pre-war military activities on both sides of the border which is very concerning, and there is no regard for their effects on us, wildlife and the environment.

  3. Not only is excess noise a stress inducement for people it is also a serious problem for wildlife. For anyone interested in learning about noise impacts on wildlife I suggest reading “The Great Animal Orchestra Animals rely on sound to find mates, food, pray and escape. Loud noise impacts can silence a forest “sound scape” for 15 minutes or more. Just in time for the next jet pass to renew the effects.

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