Very few of us would tolerate living near a unregulated factory or power plant being able to make noise and pollute the air. The Whidbey Island Naval Air Station operates large noise-emitting engines in the middle of a growing population and burns an enormous amount of CO2- emitting fuel reminiscent of the blast furnaces of the 18th century. Now, requests are being made to expand by 44 percent the number of these unregulated aircraft. Each aircraft represents more noise and pollution being added without consideration to the surrounding civilians or the air we breathe. We would not tolerate this with a normal factory or business. So why here?
Especially in a county ranked number one or two in the nation for the quality of air and whose economy relies on the peace and quiet that attracts tourists from around the world. To quote Congressman Rick Larson “If we do not protect our environment and its resources, we lose that business.” http://larsen.house.gov/issue/environment.
Washington State continues to want to reduce its carbon footprint and lead the nation in clean energy. It is eliminating the use of last century’s coal-based electricity. There has been huge outcry to even prevent the transport of coal across our waterways. Yet emissions and noise for aircraft are exempt?
We don’t want to lose jobs or reduce our tax base. However it is clear that smart regulation has increased job growth and has helped us reduce our carbon footprint when applied to dirty industries. National security is not going to be compromised by proper use of noise mitigation and emissions control. We have always thrived on meeting a challenge with innovation and invention.
If the air base cannot operate under the same rules the rest of us abide by, even the commercial aircraft industry, then alternatives should be found. Certainly adding more afterburners to the problem is not going to work.