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News-Times Whidbey INSIDE OH students welcomed back to classroom A11 SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2013 | Vol. 114, No. 72 | | 75¢ Navy will conduct study on jet noise By JANIS REID Staff reporter The Navy said this week it will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement for Outlying Field Coupeville and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station on North Whidbey. While the Navy states that EIS plans have been in the works for some time, members of a Coupeville-based citizen group claim the U.S. Rep: Future of Navy on Whidbey ‘is secure’ decision is the result of a federal lawsuit they filed in July against the Navy. The group, Citizen’s of the Ebey’s Reserve for a Healthy, Safe and Peaceful Environment, or COER, hoped the lawsuit would compel the Navy to suspend training operations at OLF and spur a new environmental impact study. The Navy suspended operations at OLF in June though the end of 2013. Though the demands of the lawsuit have apparently been met by the Navy, the group’s attorney, David Mann, said they doesn’t intend to dismiss their lawsuit just yet. Mann expressed concerns with some of the language in the Navy’s notice of intent, which he suspects indicate that they will be using the most current noise levels as the baseline from which they will do their study. “What they looked at in 2005 was wrong,” Mann said. “They have to address the existing and additional noise impacts. We are going to wait until we see the scope of what they Navy’s going to do.” Nevertheless, Mann said, “members of COER are of course ecstatic that the Navy has finally conceded that a complete environmental analysis is necessary. It is unfortunate that it required that we file federal litigation to get the Navy’s attention, but we are pleased that we provided the necessary catalyst for See EIS, A24 By Keven R. Graves and Janis Reid Staff reporters U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen addressed the Navy League this past Tuesday and offered some reassuring words for the Oak Harbor community. The future of the Navy on Whidbey Island is “secure,” he said. Larsen encouraged the Navy boosters to continue expressing support for the military presence on Whidbey Island because, back in Washington, D.C., “it makes a difference.” “It’s working,” Larsen said. “If you value something, you should be willing to fight for it.” A trip once made to Washington, D.C. by former Oak Harbor mayor Jim Slowik made an impression on top-level officials at the Pentagon, Larsen said. There is “high-level of support” from Oak Harbor for the Navy, Larsen said, and that is helping to cement the future of NAS Whidbey here. Photo by Keven R. Graves/Whidbey News-Times During his presentation to Navy League Tuesday, Congressman Rick Larsen described the future of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station as “secure,” and said Oak Harbor’s support for the base is making a difference. A longtime businessman in Oak Harbor, Slowik owned a car dealership in the 1990s when NAS Whidbey appeared on a base closure and realignment list. As a result of that threat to close the base, Slowik said he still worries closure might be a possibility. “All of us who were here worry about that,” he said. Larsen, Slowik said, “did a great job presenting the argument that Whidbey Island is the key Navy base, especially with the patrol wing and Poseidon aircraft that are coming.” “I hope Rep. Larsen is correct when he says NAS Whidbey Island is secure, and I’m 99 percent sure he is,” said Kathy Reed, executive See CONGRESSMAN, A5

Whidbey News-Times, September 07, 2013

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