In response to the letter by Steve Bristow, I find his information inaccurate and misleading. As a homeowner, a 42 percent increase in all landing practices, a 25 percent increase in all Growler operations, and a 288 percent increase in ear-splitting operations at Outlying Field Coupeville (OLF) is massive. According to renowned economics researcher Michael H. Shuman in “Invisible Costs: The $122 Million Price Tag for The Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, ” (February 2017), the Navy’s presence, including the impact of the Growlers, over the period 2010 and 2021, will cost Island County alone about $122 million.
Moreover, “an economic assessment model used to assess every high-noise project in the United Kingdom suggests that the health costs to Island County residents are currently $2.8 million per year, and will grow to $3.3 million if the Growler program expands as planned. Additionally, the program has depressed property values by $9.8 million thus far, and this damage will almost certainly grow as that program expands as planned.”
Unlike Bristow’s portrayal, we know that wildlife is severely impacted by noise, including the spotted owl, the marbled murrelet, and Orca whales. Referring to Title 10 US Code 35 Section 1536, this makes it possible for the Secretary of Defense to request an exemption from the Endangered Species Committee citing “reasons of national security” and we are required to issue an exemption. Only the military can take a species to extinction.
Tourists at Deception Pass and on Lopez Island come for a first-time visit and then vow to never return when the Growlers are flying. People are selling their treasured homes on south Lopez due to the overflights.
As a fan of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I find it all being squashed by the Growler presence in the entire region, including its electronic warfare training over the quietest place on earth, the Olympic National Park. Rather than the Northwest continuing to be a rare place in the world for peace, beauty, and quiet, we are an invasive training ground for war.
Rhea Y. Miller
Lopez Island, WA