Submitted by Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office.
A provision introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (D, WA-02) to extend real-time noise monitoring at two West Coast Navy installations and make the data publicly available passed the House of Representatives on Dec. 8 as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. The provision extends the program, first created after Cantwell and Larsen secured its passage in last year’s NDAA, for an additional 12 months.
“Real-time noise monitoring of Growler activity over Whidbey Island and Olympic National Park is crucial to ensure local communities have accurate information,” Cantwell said. “I am pleased this provision has been extended, and I will continue to work to ensure the Navy conducts the monitoring and is fully transparent with the state and local communities on the issue.”
Last year, the Navy added 36 Growler aircraft to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The additions increased airfield activity by up to a third. Cantwell and Larsen’s provision requires the Secretary of the Navy to conduct real-time monitoring of noise from flights at two West Coast Navy installations, including the field carrier landing practice at Naval Outlying Field Coupeville and Ault Field. The results of the monitoring then must be made publicly available on a Department of Defense website.
“Having reliable data on aviation noise is essential to keeping communities informed and developing strategies to mitigate the impact of operations,” Larsen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the conference committee responsible for negotiating a final bill, said. “I am glad the final conference report study will extend the study and I will continue conducting oversight to ensure transparency and proper implementation.”
In addition, the provision also requires a plan to conduct real-time noise monitoring above or adjacent to nearby public lands, including Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest, and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.
After today’s passage through the House of Representatives, the legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.