Washington state has filed suit against the Navy over expansion of jet operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, charging that the service failed to fully factor how the additional jet noise would impact people and wildlife, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
In March, NAS Whidbey Island, located near Oak Harbor along the state’s Puget Sound waterway and north of Seattle, expanded its EA-18G Growler jet program by up to 36 jets, adding to the 82 already stationed there.
Under the expanded Growler jet operations, the low-flying electronic warfare jets would perform around 100,000 takeoffs and landings per year for the next three decades, according to the lawsuit.
“The Navy has an important job, and it’s critical that their pilots and crews have the opportunity to train,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a news release announcing the lawsuit. “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 expansion of Growler flights could have serious effects on nearby residents, according to Ferguson.
The state Health Department also outlined that noise levels similar to those at NAS Whidbey could harm child development and cause sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment and cardiovascular disease.
The Navy’s Public Affairs Office has said it does not comment on pending litigation.
Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Paul Seeber