Lawsuit filed against noisy flights over Olympic National Park

Washington’s Attorney General points out shortcomings of the Navy’s environmental review.


Boeing EA-18G Growlers in flight.
U.S. Navy

Want to catch up on big developments quickly? See more stories here.

For over a decade, acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton has been fighting for natural quiet in Washington’s Olympic National Park amid the roar of U.S. Navy fighter jets. Research has shown that noise pollution can significantly disrupt wildlife’s ability to navigate, locate food and avoid predators. Noise pollution is even associated with shorter lifespans. In 2018, Hempton founded Quiet Parks International, a campaign to promote noise pollution awareness. The Navy has tried to minimize the jets’ disturbances, though their thundering can still be heard in the park (“The roar of military jets triggers a crusade for quiet,” HCN, 5/13/19).

In July 2019, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy for expanding flight operations over Whidbey Island, just east of the national park. The Navy’s environmental review for this expansion, the lawsuit asserts, “unlawfully” failed to account for the wildlife and human impacts, according to a press release.

High Country News Classifieds