The Navy last week said it would revise the scope of an ongoing environmental impact statement (EIS) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island to assess the impacts of basing up to 36 additional EA-18G Growler aircraft at the northwest Washington base.
The initial EIS evaluated the impacts associated with adding two new expeditionary squadrons including up to 14 Growler aircraft. Last week’s announcement follows a Navy request earlier this year for 22 additional Growlers made as part of the fiscal 2015 budget submission. In addition to assessing the impact of expanding electronic attack operations at Whidbey Island, the study will look at the impacts on Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field Coupeville, according to a press release from Fleet Forces Command.
Residents are particularly concerned about the potential for an increase in aircraft noise in Port Townsend, which is located across an inlet from Whidbey Island. The proposal calls for an increase in the nosiest flights as pilots use the base’s outlying fields to practice carrier takeoffs and landings, Mayor David King told the Peninsula Daily News.
Those operations require much more power, King said.