On June 15, Reps. Derek Kilmer of the Sixth District and Rick Larsen of the Second District secured investments to help reduce noise from Navy jets that operate in the Pacific Northwest.
The members added an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations bill for $2 million to help lower engine noise on Super Hornets and Growler aircraft that are used in current military operations.
“This investment will help the Navy be a better neighbor,” Kilmer said.
“We all want our service members to be properly trained. By taking an approach grounded in science and supporting new technological breakthroughs, we can ensure that training happens in a way that better protects the soundscape and environment of Olympic National Park and the surrounding communities,” he said.
The announcement drew ire from Save The Olympic Peninsula, a grassroots organization that formed in 2014 to research potential environmental impacts of U.S. Navy’s proposed electronic warfare range on the Olympic Peninsula.
Any sound improvement that could have been accomplished for $2 million would have been achieved long ago, the group said in a statement last week, and noted that the Navy’s own study shows any measures to reduce sound would reduce efficiency, speed and likely combat capabilities.
“The American public is smart enough to know that yet another study of an aircraft that costs us $68 million per machine is just a ruse in an election year,” Dr. Beverly Goldie, president of Save The Olympic Peninsula, said.
Save The Olympic Peninsula has has maintained that the jet noise impacting peninsula forests and residential neighborhoods would be alleviated if the U.S. Navy’s attack jet training took place at the military training facility in Mountain Home, Idaho, rather than on the Olympic Peninsula, the group said in its press release.
The U.S. Navy has proposed expanding training missions on the Olympic Peninsula for Growler pilots who are preparing to be deployed overseas.
The amendment prioritizes and expands ongoing Navy research to develop new technology that can reduce the sound of the aircraft, associated hearing loss of naval personnel who work in close proximity to them and operations and maintenance costs, without affecting performance, amendment proponents said.