By Jack Mayne Are propjet passenger planes turning over Burien usually in the winter a problem for the areaâ€™s environmental qualityâ€ The Federal Aviation Administration wants you to tell them during the next two weeks. When the Quiet Skies Coalition and a law firm said that the turning of airplanes over Burien was done earlier this year without conducting an analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the FAA repealed a standing order automatically turning the light airliners over the city. The instructed its Sea-Tac tower controllers that they could individually order planes to turn, or it could approve individual pilot requests to turn over the city. Comment until June 21 The FAA gave notice on Thursday (June 8) that it is opening a comment period on its desire to reinstitute turning smaller turboprop airliners at low altitudes over Burien. The comment period ends on June 21, the FAA said. The purpose of the environmental policy analysis is to â€œdetermine the environmental effects of a westerly heading for turboprop aircraft departing from Runway 34 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). The heading would only be used when the airport is landing and departing to the north (north flow).â€ The FAA said it is â€œinterested in suggested alternative paths for the westbound turboprop aircraftâ€ when planes are taking off toward the north which usually occurs during winter months. The south flow in the summer would not have a similar path over Burien. â€œInterested parties can submit comments online from June 8-21, 2017 to: [email protected]. People also can mail comments to:
Noise Concerns AJV-W25 FAA 1601 Lind Ave SW Renton WA 98057The FAAâ€™s Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor in Renton signed the notice. â€˜Failed to complyâ€™ A San Francisco law firm hired by Quiet Skies said in January that the FAAÂ â€œfailed to complyâ€ with environmental rules when â€“ without warning â€“ it â€œbegan experimentingâ€ with a new procedure that sends noisy prop-jet aircraft at low altitudes over Burienâ€™s Seahurst neighborhood, a â€œnon-confidential memorandumâ€ from an international law firm told the Quiet Skies Coalition. The Dentons law firm said it appears Quiet Skies and the City of Burien could get the flight paths moderated or changed by challenging the federal agency over failure to conduct environmental studies before such a major change in operations. â€œOn balance, it appears that a cause of action alleging a violation of National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) would be likely to succeed on the merits,â€ wrote Matthew Adams of the Dentonsâ€™ San Francisco office. Once Burien, working with Quiet Skies, filed a lawsuit over the turn issue, the FAA suspended and then withdrew a standing order for the turn, leaving it up to individual pilots to request and controllers to approve or order. Most observers said the change away from the turn was spurred by the legal action stopping the turns, which was unlikely to be overturned. The justification for the turn from the FAA was that it was made legal for a weeklong period of time each summer when the Blue Angels came to the Seattle area. That was done to ensure passenger planes and fast-moving jet fighters would not be in close contact. Quiet Skies said the forced turns over Burien at other times was never contemplated by the summer order. â€œWe thank Quiet Skies Coalition for bringing the issue of increased overflights to the City Councilâ€™s attention, for finding an attorney to file the petition on our behalf, and for providing input into the legal process,” Interim City Manager Tony Piasecki said. “City Attorney Lisa Marshall has followed appropriate legal procedure by providing information first to her client, the Burien City Council, followed by the Quiet Skies Coalition. The June 7 notice shows that the FAA is listening to the concerns of Burien residents.â€ The City of Burien said that it will be submitting comments and encourages all Burien residents to submit comments to the FAA about the North Flow flight pattern. More information Summary of the preliminary FAA analysis:
- Online at: https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/communityengagement/SEA
- By email: [email protected].
- By mail: Noise Concerns, AJV-W25, FAA, 1601 Lind Ave SW, Renton WA 98057