The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Guest Commentary / Navy jets


Noise a health, safety and economic issue

Gale Fiege did a good job preparing her Sept. 9 article on the Coupeville Outlying Field. ("Camano Islanders split over Navy jet noise"). What she and many OLF supporters do not understand is the impact on life that folks actually living under the OLF practice path cope with.
Most folks hearing jets crossing at high altitude (one here or there, maybe at 60-75 decibels) are proud to be home to the Navy and wonder what the big deal is. Here are some facts that might help them understand the deal:
1) The OLF practice path is basically a tight circle with two to five jets going around in a constant loop with a practice landing in the middle (i.e., touch down and immediate take off) of each loop. With four jets flying, about 15 seconds elapse between jets crossing overhead. Those jets will go around for about 35 minutes and then leave, but soon follows the next group of jets.
2) Yes, many folks living under the OLF path did sign notices about jet noise, but that notice provided not even an inkling of what the impact might be, so many trusted and were duped. And what about the 33 percent of Coupeville residents who didn't sign the notice?
3) The undisclosed impact hidden in that notice is hours upon hours of life-straining noise from the 80 decibel range between jets overhead to highs of 115-120 decibels 15 seconds later as the next jet passes, creating a constant noise cycle. Anything requiring hearing is impossible other than yelling to one's family.
4) Every three decibel increase doubles sound intensity. So, jet sound at 120 decibels is over 8,000 times as intense as at 80 decibels. Sound intensity is the cause of hearing loss. The EPA and NIOSH agree that sound at the levels folks under the OLF path experience (i.e., 110-120 decibels) causes permanent hearing loss in a matter of seconds, as supported by the World Health Organization. Those claiming no impact, are just uninformed or would rather play make-believe.
6) The jets are dumping fuel all over folks living under the OLF path at way lower altitude than allowed. Jet fuel is highly toxic stuff -- benzene and toluene. (Carcinogenic? Quite likely.) Dumping is happening, but it isn't even mentioned in that noise disclosure notice; after all who would gamble with their health when you could buy a home where you don't get regularly slimed with jet fuel. Nor, incredibly, does the notice mention the crash risks.
7) Folks can move. Yes, and suffer huge losses, not only going in and out of a home purchase but now especially, because buyers are beginning to learn the full extent of jet impacts on life. How long before areas become de facto ghost neighborhoods with a few stragglers? As one renter told me as she was moving out, "I wouldn't stay here if the rent was free!"
Let me ask you this: If you knew all of those facts, would you buy a home under the OLF shadow? No?
So now let me ask you this: Assuming the Navy could move it's touch-and-go practice to a 21st century location that provided what the pilots really deserve to have (which assuredly it can), then why in the world would you want to keep the OLF, a World War II relic, in Coupeville, continuing to plague families and children to documented life-damaging risk (unless, of course, you are one of those who loves jets more than people)?

Robert Wilbur lives in Coupeville.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.