Cantwell, Larsen Provision to Monitor Noise of Naval Operations Headed to President’s Desk

Language requires real-time noise monitoring of flights from two West Coast Navy installations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, language introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (D, WA-02) to provide for real-time noise monitoring at two West Coast Navy installations passed the Senate 86-8 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

“Increased Growler activity over Whidbey Island and the Olympic National Park has impacted local communities and caused concern,” Cantwell said. “Now we will have real-time noise monitoring, which is crucial for the Navy, state, and communities to hold transparent and accurate discussions on the issue.”

“On June 12, the House Armed Services Committee adopted my provision to require real-time noise monitoring at three Naval Air Stations and three Air Force bases because the challenge we face with jet noise on Whidbey Island is a challenge shared by other communities,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “As a member of the conference committee responsible for shepherding this provision to final passage, I am happy the final bill included real-time noise monitoring language to require the Navy to mitigate the effects of military aircraft noise on private residences, schools and hospitals. This provision will ensure air crews can get vital training while better understanding and reducing the impact of operations on surrounding communities. Thank you to Chair Smith and Senator Cantwell for working with me to get this bill across the finish line.”

This March, the U.S. Navy announced the addition of 36 Growler aircraft to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, increasing annual airfield activity by up to 33%. The Cantwell-Larsen provision in the NDAA compromise requires real-time monitoring of noise at two West Coast Navy installations. This includes field carrier landing practice at Naval Outlying Field Coupeville and Ault Field, which now see about 112,100 Growler operations annually.

The final NDAA conference report requires the Secretary of the Navy to conduct real-time monitoring of noise from flights at the installations. It also requires the results be made publicly available on a Department of Defense website.

It also requires the Secretary of the Navy to work with the Director of the National Park Service and the Chief of the Forest Service to come up with a plan within 90 days for real-time noise monitoring above or adjacent to nearby public lands, including Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest, and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

In June of this year, the Senate passed Senator Cantwell’s amendment as part of its NDAA bill. In July, the House passed Larsen’s amendment as part of its NDAA bill. The House voted to pass the final conference report last week, 377-48.