At least 50 people coalesced along State Highway 20 in Oak Harbor shortly after 10:00 AM on Saturday, 03 August to show their support for continued Navy flight operations at Navy OLF Coupeville on Whidbey Island. The Navy has announced that FCLP Operations are temporarily suspended at the OLF, until the end of the year.
While the mainstream media has suggested that curtailment of these operations are a direct result of a lawsuit filed by “Citizens of the Ebey’s reserve for a healthy, safe & peaceful environment”, others have suggested to Island Politics that suspension of operations at the OLF is actually due to sequestration at the federal level, and that the timing of the lawsuit is simply a coincidence.
The lawsuit claims that the long-existing OLF presents a noise hazard to people living near it. Anyone who purchases or leases real property near an airfield in Island County must sign a disclosure statement which says:
“The Property at ___________________________________________ is located within Airport Noise Zone 2 or 3 impacted area. Persons on the premises may be exposed to a significant noise level as a result of airport operations. Island County has placed certain restrictions of construction of property within airport noise zones. Before purchasing or leasing the above property, you should consult the Island County Noise Level Reduction Ordinance to determine the restrictions which have been placed on the subject property, if any.”
Based on the response of many passing vehicles, the folks holding signs enjoyed widespread support, many of whom honked their horns incessantly while driving by past the intersection of Highway 20 and Pioneer Way.
The rally lasted for about an hour. I casually spoke to a few people who were there as the rally crowd was dispersing, and they indicated they planned to be back again next week, too.
The line of sign holders stretched from the intersection of State Highway 20 and Barrington Drive southward, wrapping around the corner onto Pioneer Way.