An EA-18G Growler lands on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Ault Field. (File Photo)

U.S. Navy being sued for expanded flights from island near Victoria

Washington State attorney general announces lawsuit against navy for expanded operations

Washington State has brought legal action against the U.S. Navy for a decision that’s left parts of Washington and Greater Victoria with the rumbling aftereffects of some of the navy’s noisiest aircraft.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday that he has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy for expanded Growler airfield operations that “failed to adequately analyze human health, environmental and historic impacts.”

Located on Whidbey Island – about 80 kilometres from Victoria – the airfield is home to Growler aircraft that fly lower to the ground “in order to jam enemy communications.” In March, the navy authorized an expansion that would see close to 100,000 Glower takeoffs and landings every year for the next three years and add 36 Growler aircraft to its fleet by 2022.

READ ALSO: U.S. Navy jet fighter rumbles bring on grumbles

In a media release, Ferguson said the navy’s environmental review process “unlawfully failed to measure the impacts to public health and wildlife in communities on and around Whidbey Island.”

“The navy has an important job, and it’s critical that their pilots and crews have the opportunity to train,” Ferguson said in the release. “That does not relieve the federal government of its obligation to follow the law and avoid unnecessary harm to our health and natural resources.”

The distance between Victoria and Whidbey Island, where the U.S. Navy recently approved about 100,000 take-offs and landings of Growler aircrafts per year. (Google Maps)

Ferguson notes feedback from the Washington Department of Health provided to the navy in 2017 that outlined the negative health impacts of exposure to noise levels similar to that at the naval base. The department said those impacts included sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment and cardiovascular disease.

According to the attorney general’s office, the airfield is also close to and will impact the health of important bird habitats such as bald eagles and a threatened seabird called marbled murrelets.

In a statement, Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp said “unregulated, unrestrained noise pollution from increased military training operations presents a clear threat to the health and solitude of our state’s fragile ecosystems, treaty protected resources and endangered species … The federal government must strike the appropriate balance to ensure our national security without permanently damaging the landscapes, species and communities they are seeking to protect.”

READ ALSO: Largest U.S. Navy destroyer arrives in Esquimalt

Ferguson has also added additional claims to the lawsuit under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The full lawsuit is not yet publicly available.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATE: Nanoose Bay residents miffed as roadwork on Northwest Bay Road causing long delays

‘I sat in traffic for a half-hour and moved approximately 50 feet’

Oceanside RCMP officer makes Alexa’s Team

Munro able to stop and process 15 impaired motorists during the past year

Potty Mouth artist creating Funky Fungus

Parksville-Qualicum’s Carmen Lutz has people chuckling with her hand-made, rustic mugs

Qualicum Beach charity hosts fundraiser for Guatemalan students

Aldea Maya has been working in the Central American country since 2012

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Parksville man, 75, goes missing from north Nanaimo home

Police dog services called in to help with search

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Wildfire burning outside of Port Alberni

Coastal Fire Centre on scene

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Most Read