Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Navy due to expanded Growler airfield operations on Whidbey Island, citing human health, environmental and historic impacts.
Ferguson’s office claims the Navy’s environmental review process of the expansion “unlawfully failed to measure the impacts to public health and wildlife” in communities throughout Whidbey Island.
“The Navy has an important job, and it’s critical that their pilots and crews have the opportunity to train,” Ferguson said in a press release. “That does not relieve the federal government of its obligation to follow the law and avoid unnecessary harm to our health and natural resources.”
Back in March, the Navy approved an expansion of its Growler program to increase take-offs and landings to almost 100,000 per year over the next 30 years. Growlers fly low in efforts to interrupt enemy communications, which means take-offs and landings can be extremely loud.
The expansion would take place at the naval air station on Whidbey Island, where the Navy plans to add 36 Growler aircraft to its fleet by 2022. In the lawsuit filed by Ferguson, he argues that the navy violated the National Environmental Protection Act and the federal Administrative Procedure Act by “improperly analyzing the impact the Growler expansion would have on human and environmental health.”
“Washington will always work to defend our state’s vibrant communities and natural resources,” Governor Jay Inslee said in the release. ” We are proud to host installations for our armed forces and support the nation’s defense, however, the Navy has an obligation to follow the law and ensure adequate mitigation for its actions.”
“Their efforts could result in disproportionate adverse impact to our state’s environment and the health and quality of life of Washington’s residents,” he concluded.