Whidbey Island neighbors sue Navy over jet noises

Whidbey Island neighbors sue Navy over jet noises »Play Video
WHIBEY ISLAND, Wash. -- Some Whidbey Island residents say Navy jets are so loud that they have to sleep with headphones on, and now they're suing to get some peace and quiet.

The Navy often practices "touch and gos" at nearby outlying field runway, and everyone involved admits they can be rather loud.

Maryon Attwood lives in the area and said she has to wear ear protection headphones just to get to sleep. She said the noise is unbearable.

"They just keep going around and around," she said.

When she and other neighbors asked the Navy to close the field, she said they got no response. The neighbors decided the best way to get the Navy's attention was to file suit in federal court.

The lawsuit accuses the Navy of failing to conduct an environmental review before using the landing strip.

In response, the Navy is suspending touch and go exercises on the runway for the rest of the year. However, in a statement, Navy officials say "this decision will create operational impacts and is not considered to be sustainable for the long term."

Neighbors fear that when January rolls around, the jets will take off day and night from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey three to four times a week for as many as eight hours a day.

The neighbors worry about what the sound will do to them. Home video taken of a Little League baseball game near the runway shows sound from the jets measured at 112 decibels. The Centers for Disease Control says hearing damage can begin at just 85 decibels.

Attwood said she's received phone threats and has been accused of being un-American for filing the suit. But she said she just wants what's best for her community.

"And we would like the Navy to be good neighbors," she said.

The Navy is now doing its touch and go training at NAS Whidbey. The neighbors say they're pro-Navy and love watching the Blue Angels, but not when it's every day, and not when it's in their backyards.