February 21, 2019
We thank the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP) and it’s members for validating our concerns and for their thorough and measured response to our region’s concern for our historic properties and cultural treasures that will be impacted by the Growler jet expansion proposal.
The ACHP acknowledged many of the concerns expressed in the Sound Defense Alliance’s position statement on the insufficient mitigations offered by the Navy to reduce, minimize or mitigate Growler jet noise.
The ACHP’s eight-page letter echoed SDA and the region’s concerns in a long list of mitigations and considerations for the Navy to address. Some of these include: adverse effects on historical structures, agriculture and tourism. Members recognized that Growler jet noise would impact more than Central Whidbey.
Council members agreed that the Navy’s methods of measuring noise may have been too narrow – leaving out over 40 historic properties in Port Townsend. The ACHP suggests actual noise monitoring, adding their voice to the EPA’s, the Governor’s and to our State Department of Health’s request for noise monitoring.
The regional community and the larger preservation community, such as the Ebey’s Trust Board and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, helped inform the ACHP council members from throughout the country about military noise expansion on national historic sites, such as Ebey’s Reserve. New allies have been made in our state and beyond.
The ACHP received more than 250 written comments on the Navy’s proposed undertaking from consulting partners, members of the public, the Governor’s office, and Congress. As a part of developing comments, the ACHP staff also hosted a public meeting in Coupeville, attended by over 400 people throughout Northwest Washington. The retelling of our story by the ACHP is a big plus for our efforts. Our gratitude to all of those who wrote, called or attended the meeting.
We are heartened that the ACHP review has brought to light the magnitude of the harms that will be caused by the Navy’s proposed undertaking and the Navy’s failed Section 106 process. The ACHP has helped us galvanize a community for a sustainable and respectful outcome.
Knowing that the ACHP wants to stay in the loop is a win for our community too. They want to exercise all the power they have under the law including prior evidence of consideration.
The Sound Defense Alliance will continue our efforts to reduce Growler jet noise and to work toward reducing the number of jets, flights, and locations of Growler jet training.