Thursday, January 09, 2014

Hotline for Growler noise complaints starts today

Plans by the U.S. Navy to end the moratorium on the use of the Outlying Field (OLF) at Coupeville for aircraft carrier landing practice, motivated Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) to establish a new complaint hotline. The number for the 24-hour toll-free complaint hotline is 1-800-830-4078.

The Growler Jets and the OLF's usage of that field have been the subject of litigation and the source of complaints about noise, health impacts and property damage. The runway, located adjacent to Ebey’s National Reserve near Coupeville, has been closed since May and training conducted elsewhere.

"When the planes resume flying over our homes, schools, and hospital, we’ll be ready to take complaint calls", said Michael Monson, chair of COER.

Callers can talk to real people starting on Thursday, January 9 and not a recorded voice.

Organizers expect complaints from Whidbey Island and other areas.

"The Navy has a recorded complaint line, COER’s HOT LINE is necessary because many people do not trust the Navy to keep track of complaints or to treat them seriously," said Monson.

"COER will keep track of the complaints it receives and forward them to the Navy," said COER's member Cate Andrews. "We want people to know we are there for them and we want to make sure the Navy pays attention to their problems."

COER plans to analyze the complaints and use them to support the closure of the OLF and move the EA-18 Growlers to a more suitable location.

"Aircraft noise, in particular low - altitude over-flights, is a public health issue that must be addressed to reduce the negative health outcomes of community members. COER looks forward to assisting people who are being harmed by unsafe noise levels in the coming weeks, by listening and recording their comments," said Monson. ‘Requests for anonymity will be respected,’ he added.

COER, a citizen group of over 3,000 supporters along with growing list of organizations such as the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association, seeks the closure of the OLF Coupeville and alternatives to, and the relocation of, Navy EA-18G Growler training flights currently being conducted at the Navy’s Outlying Field on Whidbey Island.


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