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Letter: OLF controversy transcends concern
Myth: Outlying Field is a critical link to our security that can only be met at OLF Coupeville — anywhere else and the country is doomed and freedom will be destroyed. Reality: Pilot practice is essential and all on the island realize that and support training the Navy pilots, but from that to extrapolate that this particular OLF location is paramount to our security is pure nonsense.
Mythinformation: The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COR) doesn’t support our pilots. Reality: COR actually supports the pilots by advocating moving them to an OLF that would provide a safer 21st century training facility instead of a World War II relic that is too short to allow Growlers to land on, and where essential dark (night) practice is increasingly impacted by night traffic on State Highway 20 and surrounding unchecked development, like well-lit Admirals Cove.
Propaganda: The OLF cannot possibly be moved — too costly —totally impossible. Reality: In the Norfolk, Va., area the Navy recently was set to construct a new OLF in the lowlands of North Carolina about 100 miles south, and it was publicly preparing to buy everyone out within the affected 65-decibel contour. Well, the North Carolina folks would have nothing of that, but it does show that an OLF over 100 miles away was no problem. So, the Navy has the money, and the wheat fields of eastern Washington would be a similar distance without public opposition because “the public” is wheat and mice and no lights at night.
Myth: The jets don’t fly that often at OLF, so not a big deal. Reality: In 2012 the Navy practiced at OLF 22 percent of the days in the year. That is nearly a quarter of the days in the year. On those days they managed to get in 5,239 overflights or 66 on each day of they flew, each hitting 110-120 dB.
Mythinformation: The OLF jet noise is just an annoyance that folks need to get over. Reality: You don’t get over deafness, and that is only one of the health impacts. The actual noise data indicates that folks in the Coupeville area are exposed to way more decibels than can be tolerated without permanent loss of hearing, and that includes tourists and kids and families at Rhodendron Park. See the information on the Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve website. Audiologists agree with the EPA and NIOSH on that — fully. Note, the Port of Seattle purchased all homes within the Sea-Tac 75 dB contour, recognizing that aircraft noise above those levels are harmful to humans, yet all of Admirals Cove is within the 75 dB noise contour.
Mythinformation: Buyers were informed of and signed off on the jet noise when they bought their property. Don’t like it? Move. Reality: Many were not informed and others’ ownership preceded the implementation of that notice. But the notice is a farce, and the county’s information is a whitewash of the impacts. Meanwhile duped buyers do move away with great regularity and with each exploited family the real estate agents profit going in and out. It’s a Ponzi scheme, a class-action lawsuit just waiting for a straw to put it in motion.
Propaganda: The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve want to shut down NASWI. Reality: Visit COR’s website where their mission is clearly stated: closing the outdated OLF (not NASWI, nothing more). The propagandists pushing that canard are just trying to discredit COR. COR’s information is well researched and documented, and the Navy knows it; read the lawsuit and you will see why the best others can attempt is a can-load of canards.
Myth: Some folks have a neurotic addiction to jet practice as a unique hobby interest, others a misguided sense of patriotism twisted into a compulsive need for self-sacrifice, actually believing that exploitation of their life quality is necessary for freedom. Some are so fixated that it transcends concern for the health and well-being of Whidbey families and children, and for some to such an extent that their anger has fomented into making phone and online threats to COR folks. Reality: Actually that is not a myth — that is reality.