Update from the Legislative Committee – Nov 2020

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Port Townsend joins the fight against the Navy Growlers

The November elections provided multiple opportunities to move our work forward and some new opportunities for our hard-working team to inform local candidates about the Sound Defense Alliance and our bipartisan work. This included a Q & A information paper on the Sound Defense Alliance for all candidates running for elective office in Northwest Washington. 

The team has been involved in encouraging direct action:
— When They Fly We Call at (360) 257-6665
— We Add our Noise Location to the San Juan Noise Map

The Legislative Team also took action during the state’s shut down during the ‘Stay Safe-Stay at Home’ directive and during the smoke from summer fires in California, Oregon and Washington. We reached out to our Congressional delegation and to the Governor’s office on both of these occasions and know that high-level communications were made to the Navy on our behalf. Although the Navy may not have changed its behavior, SDA had many great opportunities to make our case in the media and with elected leaders about the Navy’s indifferent treatment of neighboring communities, families and children.

The Team has continued to monitor the Navy’s plans to conduct the Real-Time Noise Monitoring Study approved by Congress passed in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We knew it wouldn’t be easy to hold the Navy to the task of complying with a Congressional directive – and COVID-19 has not made it easier.

As a citizen’s group with a vested interest in balance between military and community goals, SDA has been totally excluded by the Navy from direct engagement in the process to create a meaningful study. As a result, we have been working through our elected officials and leaders to make sure our information reaches the Navy and the Navy’s consultants hired to conduct the Real-Time Noise Study.

Many of the letters and suggestions for a transparent and trust-worthy Real-Time Noise study are available on SDA’s website. These include our letter sent to Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Ohanessian, SDA’s suggestions for monitoring sites throughout the region, suggestions for noise experts to be added to the Navy’s invitees selected for feedback, SDA communications with the Navy’s invited participants and one-on-one meetings to provide more information to local elected leaders. This study is important because it’s the first time the Navy has ever been directed by Congress to monitor Real-Time Noise.

Summarizing our Goals for the Navy’s Noise monitoring Study:

  1. SDA wants to ensure that the Navy conducts the Real-Time Noise Monitoring Study and does so under the watchful eye of Congress, so SDA supports an extension in the 2021 NDAA.
  2. SDA would also like the Navy to measure additional sites impacted by Navy jet noise, including Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula.
  3. SDA wants improved transparency by releasing the approximate locations of the Navy’s selected monitoring sites prior to publishing their report.
  4. SDA continues to request that all raw data collected shall be publicly available on a quarterly basis at no cost throughout the study.
  5. For a meaningful study, a wide range of noise metrics shall be included in the report, including at a minimum, those metrics in the 2016 study conducted for the National Parks Service at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Our Congressional elected leaders have continued their steadfast support and remain responsive during challenging days in our nation’s capital. Right now, Congress is just selecting members for the 2021 NDAA conference committee to resolve final language for approval of both the House and the Senate. We’ll be monitoring that progress.

Finally, a big thanks to our team of volunteers and allies and to Teresa Purcell, our consultant, who keeps us focused on our goals.

Our efforts are expanding and based upon relationships with local, regional, and federal elected leaders. If you like this kind of work – please contact Maryon Attwood at 360-720-0088. We could use a few new volunteers on our committee.

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