On Sept. 28, 2018, the Navy announced the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for EA-18G Growler operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and identified Alternative 2A as the preferred alternative. The ultimate decision will be made and announced in a Record of Decision no earlier than 30 days following the public release.
The Navy has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing EA-18G Growler operations at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville. It contains updated information since the release of the Draft EIS in November 2016 and identifies Alternative 2A as the preferred alternative.
- Alternative 2A was announced as the preferred alternative on June 25, 2018. The announcement was made to provide the public transparency regarding the most updated information on the Navy’s current position with respect to the proposed action. No decision has yet been made. The ultimate decision with respect to force structure and Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) distribution will be made by the Secretary of the Navy or his representative and announced in a Record of Decision no earlier than 30 days following today’s public release of the Final EIS.
- Alternative 2A establishes two new expeditionary squadrons and adds two aircraft to each squadron that operates off aircraft carriers. This alternative adds 36 aircraft home based at NAS Whidbey Island, increases the airfield operations at both Ault Field and OLF Coupeville, and changes the distribution of FCLP between the two airfields. This preferred alternative provides the best, most realistic training for Navy pilots and takes into consideration the noise impacts to all surrounding communities.
The Navy announced a delay in the release of the Final EIS in September 2017 in order to analyze new information—specifically, a planned reduction in the number of pilots per squadron and the successful testing of Precision Landing Mode (PLM), formerly known as MAGIC CARPET. The reduction in pilots per squadron and the implementation of PLM will result in a 30-percent reduction in the FCLP requirement from that analyzed in the Draft EIS. This has a beneficial effect of reducing the overall environmental impacts. The Final EIS has been updated with a new noise analysis that reflects the reduction in airfield operations as well as a corresponding reduction in personnel and family members.
Public input was an important factor in the preparation of the Final EIS. The Navy considered 4,335 public comments received on the Draft EIS. The Final EIS has been updated with new and clarifying information to improve the accuracy and thoroughness of the analysis because of the public comments received on the Draft EIS.\
Please visit the Final Documents tab to view all documents.
Copies of the Final EIS also are available for review at 22 area libraries:
- Anacortes Public Library
- Bellingham Public Library
- Burlington Public Library
- Camano Island Library
- Clinton Library
- Coupeville Library
- Freeland Library
- Guemes Island Library
- Jefferson County Library
- La Conner Regional Library
- Langley Library
- Lopez Island Public Library
- Lummi Island Library
- Mount Vernon City Library
- North Olympic Library System, Port Angeles
- North Olympic Library System, Sequim
- Oak Harbor City Library
- Orcas Island Public Library
- Port Townsend Public Library
- San Juan Island Library
- Seattle Central Public Library
- Sedro-Woolley Library
NEPA Public Involvement
- The Navy offered three public comment periods and held 13 public meetings in connection with this project – three in Fall 2013, five in Fall 2014 and five in Fall 2016. The project mailing list grew from 350 to 2,342 addressees.
- The Navy considered all 4,335 public comments received on the Draft EIS and refined the Final EIS with updated information, which included a review of eight different reports submitted as public comments.
- While The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and CEQ regulations require public comment on the Draft EIS, the regulations do not require a public comment period following the release of a Final EIS.
- The next step in the NEPA process is a Record of Decision, which would occur no sooner than 30 days following the release of the Final EIS.
Draft EIS Public Comment Period
There were FOUR ways to provide comments on the Draft EIS:
- Submit your written comments at one of the five open house public meetings (Dec. 5 - 9, 2016)
- Provide verbal comments to the stenographer, who recorded your comments, at one of the five open house public meetings (Dec. 5 - 9, 2016)
- Mail your comments
- Provide written comments using via form (form was available from Nov.10, 2016, to Feb. 24, 2017)
The extended 105-day comment period on the Draft EIS began Nov. 10, 2016, and closed Feb. 24, 2017. The comments submitted at the public meetings, online, or through the mail and their responses are provided as an appendix to the Final EIS (see Appendix M of the Final EIS). Comments submitted during the Draft EIS comment period were used to inform the preparation of the Final EIS document.
Open House Public Meetings
The Navy held five open house public meetings to provide members of the public with the opportunity to ask questions and submit comments on the Draft EIS. The meetings were held as follows:
|Monday, Dec. 5, 2016
Fort Worden State Park
Conference Center, USO Hall
200 Battery Way
Port Townsend, WA 98368
3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
|Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016
Oak Harbor Elks Lodge
155 NE Ernst Street
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
|Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016
Lopez Center for Community and
204 Village Road
Lopez Island, WA 98261
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
|Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016
Seafarers’ Memorial Park Building
601 Seafarers’ Way
Anacortes, WA 98221
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
|Friday, Dec. 9, 2016
Coupeville High School Commons
501 South Main Street
Coupeville, WA 98239
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Public Meeting Materials (December 2016)
- Project Overview
- Airfield Operations
- EA-18G Growler - Critical to U.S. National Security
- Field Carrier Landing Practice
- Aircraft Noise Assessment
- Noise Study Results - DNL Contours at Ault Field
- Noise Study Results - DNL Contours at OLF Coupeville
- Noise Study Results – Supplemental Noise Metrics
- Aircraft Noise and Health
- Community Resources
- Natural Resources
- Cultural Resources and American Indian Traditional Resources
- Public Involvement
Public Outreach Brochure, June 2015
The Navy has prepared an informational brochure in order to promote greater understanding of the mission of NAS Whidbey Island, Growler operations and mission, issues related to aircraft noise, and the EIS process. The brochure is available for download at this link.
The Navy held a total of five open house information sessions to provide members of the public with the opportunity to review project-related information, ask questions of Navy representatives, and submit comments on the scope of analysis and content to be addressed in the EIS. The meetings were held as follows:
- From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, at Coupeville High School
- From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge
- From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, at Anacortes High School
- From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec.3, 2014, at the Lopez Center for Community and Arts
- From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, at the Fort Worden Park Conference Center
Scoping Meeting Materials