Group Requests Judge Order to Relocate Navy Practice Flights

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EA-18G Growler taxis Whidbey Island
An EA-18G Growler taxis toward the runway at Ault Field as a P3C Orion performs a low approach, Whidbey Island, WA, March 29, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo/Paul Seeber)

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — An advocacy group in Washington state has asked a federal judge to require the Navy to reduce the number of Growler aircraft flights at a military airport until a lawsuit is settled over the number of practice flights.

Citizens of the Ebey's Reserve member Paula Spina filed a motion for a preliminary injunction order Thursday, the Skagit Valley Herald reported Monday. The group is dedicated to removing the EA-18G Growler jet training flights from the Puget Sound region.

Since March, the Navy has added 36 aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and shifted most of its aircraft operations to Outlying Field Coupeville, increasing flights by about 20,000 each year, court documents said. The airport is near the town of Coupeville and subjects residents to extreme noise, documents said.

The injunction would move operations to other locations available to the Navy if granted by a judge.

The lawsuit at the center of the injunction was filed against the Navy in July by the advocacy group and the state of Washington.

The Navy failed to adequately measure impacts to public health and wildlife before expanding operations, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

Citizens of the Ebey's Reserve is seeking an injunction, since resolution of the lawsuit is not expected for at least six months, documents said.

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