Washington's Attorney General Sues The Navy
Taking an extremely politically courageous action, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing the United States Navy for conducting its Whidbey Island EA-18G Growler operations in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. Ferguson also will soon to be filing a lawsuit alleging that the Navy's activities violate the Endangered Species Act. This is precisely the type of legal action that Save the Olympic Peninsula (STOP) has hoped for in the course of its many efforts to obtain relief from the Navy's Growler operations over the Olympic Peninsula.
STOP greatly appreciates these actions of Attorney General Ferguson. STOP is likewise appreciative of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee in wholeheartedly supporting the Attorney General's lawsuit.
We encourage you to write the Attorney General and the Governor to express your gratitude for their actions. It is not easy for elected officials to challenge the United States Government, especially when it involves the United State Military. Please also let our other local, state and federal elected officials know that they should follow Attorney General Ferguson's and Governor Inslee's examples.
We especially encourage you to ask Congressman Derek Kilmer to begin challenging the Navy's activities. He has generally maintained that the Navy is a "good neighbor" and has assumed the Navy was complying with the environmental laws despite thousands of his constituents submitting comments maintaining otherwise. This lawsuit should make Kilmer reconsider his position.
Congressman Kilmer has recently proposed legislation requiring the Navy to install and operate sound monitoring stations to determine whether the sound data being used in the Navy's environmental studies is accurate. Senators Murray and Cantwell have proposed legislation requiring an independent third party to install and operate such monitoring stations. The Senators' approach is certainly preferable, but much stronger action is needed. Although STOP finds these initiatives insufficient, we appreciate that they are at least a start.
We already know electronic warfare training, and the sound levels created by the Navy's jets, are not appropriate for Olympic National Park, a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. The real solution is to move the training elsewhere. We urge our Congressional delegation to develop the type of courage that our Attorney General and Governor have displayed and demand that the training be moved elsewhere.
The actions of the Attorney General in filing the lawsuit came one year after representatives of Save the Olympic Peninsula and a number of other organizations opposing the Navy's Whidbey Island EA-18G Growler operations met with Bill Sherman, the Counsel for the Environment for Attorney General Bob Ferguson, to ask his help in preventing the Navy from continuing to conduct its activities in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Sherman promised his office would consider our input and consider bringing legal action against the Navy if he agreed with our assessment of the situation.
Various members of the Sound Defense Alliance, especially Citizens of Ebey's Reserve, and STOP continued to provide information regarding the Navy's non-compliance with the environmental laws to the Attorney General's office since that time. The actions of the Attorney General, the Counsel for the Environment, and the Governor in considering that information and acting upon it stand as excellent examples of good government and how citizen involvement can yield good results.
Watch Attorney General Ferguson's press conference below. Go to the lawsuit document here.
Save the Olympic Peninsula has submitted comments on the latest draft environmental impact statement related to the Navy's training and testing activities over the Olympic Peninsula.
STOP's comments mostly address the noise impacts of Growler EA-18G jets flying over the Olympic Peninsula. STOP has found, using the Navy's own information, that the Navy's previous noise analysis was, and its new noise analysis is, based on significantly understated numbers of jet flights. This, of course, significantly understates the noise impacts of the Navy's activities.
Furthermore, the Navy continues to ignore the noise impacts of its aircraft on large portions of the area between Whidbey Island and the Pacific Ocean, including Olympic National Park, Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, Protection Island, the City of Port Townsend and large portions of the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea.
STOP encourages all of you to address your concerns regarding this situation to your local, state and federal elected officials. Those officials must be educated on the need for them to help save the Olympic Peninsula from the damage the Navy continues to do.
Go to STOP's letter to the Navy here.