A just-released study by the Navy says basing more EA-18G “Growlers” on Whidbey Island will have what the draft environmental impact statement calls, “a significant impact” on noise in nearby communities. The Navy has scheduled five public meetings, with one set for Anacortes on Dec. 8.
The release of the Draft EIS begins a 75-day public comment period, which will conclude January 25, 2017. This represents an extended public comment period to support public participation in this process.
The Draft EIS evaluates the potential environmental effects associated with the addition of up to 36 Growler aircraft and the continuation and increase of Growler airfield operations at Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville. The Draft EIS includes three alternatives, all of which entail an addition of either 35 or 36 additional aircraft to be based at NAS Whidbey Island. The Draft EIS also analyzes three different options for the distribution of Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) operations between Ault Field and OLF Coupeville.
Growler operations will increase under all alternatives analyzed in this Draft EIS. This increase will result in a total number of annual operations at the NAS Whidbey Island Complex that is similar to what was seen in the mid-1990s.
The Navy previously held two scoping meetings in 2013 and 2014. The DEIS addresses input from the public from these two scoping periods. Alternatives presented at scoping meetings analyzing fewer additional aircraft than 35 were not carried forward in the Draft EIS because Congress has purchased more aircraft than was reflected in those earlier alternatives.
The Navy will host an open house in Anacortes on Dec. 8, one of five open-house meetings to provide members of the public the opportunity to ask questions of Navy representatives and submit comments on the Draft EIS analysis. Each meeting will consist of information stations staffed by Navy representatives.
The Anacortes public meeting will be on Thursday, December 8, 2016 at Seafarers’ Memorial Park Building, 601 Seafarers’ Way, Anacortes. 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend one of these meetings and provide comments on the Draft EIS. Comments may be provided in person at one of the meetings (either written comments or verbal comments to a stenographer will be accepted).
Comments may also be posted to the project website: http://www.whidbeyeis.com, or submitted in writing to:
EA-18G EIS Project Manager Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic, Attn: Code EV21/SS 6506 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23508 All comments must be postmarked, received online or provided in a format listed above no later than January 25, 2017.