The Navy is taking longer than it expected to finish an Environmental Impact Statement on the number of EA-18G Growlers that may be based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
Wednesday the U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va. released a statement moving the release of the document to the public from this summer to the fall.
The draft environmental impact statement will address the environmental impact of the potential addition of up to 36 Growlers at Whidbey.
“This is a very large and complex document with specific areas to analyze,” said Ted Brown, the Navy’s Installations and Environmental public affairs officer. “We want to give a well-researched document to the public.”
This is not the first time the Navy has delayed the release of the document. In 2014 officials planned to make a decision this year. Then the Navy announced plans to consider larger Growler squadrons, including scenarios that would increase the five aircraft carrier electronic attack squadrons to seven or eight. The impact statement is examining Growler operations at Ault Field and the Outlying Field at Coupeville.
The public will be notified when the draft document is available for review, according to the Navy statement. A press release will be distributed to interested media, advertisements will be placed in local newspapers, and copies of the draft document will be provided to area libraries. The document will also be available for public review on the project website. The release of the document will begin a public comment period, during which interested members of the public are encouraged to comment on the document. Public meetings will be scheduled and announced at that time as well.
Additional information about the Draft EIS can be found on the project website at: http://www.whidbeyeis.com./The public website includes up-to-date information on the project and schedule, as well as related documents associated with the Draft EIS.