From our sister site The Waterland Blog:
A standing-room crowd gathered last Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2023 at the Quarterdeck in Des Moines to discuss the public health impacts from Sea-Tac International Airport overflights.
Sponsored by Quiet Skies Puget Sound, the “informal meetup” kicked off with a talk by Quiet Skies member Steve Edmiston titled, “The Document the Port of Seattle Does Not Want You To See.” Edmiston shared copies of the extensively redacted 28-page document, prepared by the Port’s global consulting firm Ramboll to critique a 2020 study of Sea-Tac Airport public health impacts, authored by scientists from Public Health Seattle-King County and the University of Washington.
View the Port’s redacted Ramboll document here.
Read/download the complete 2020 Public Health Study here.
Edmiston shared his journey to seek disclosure from the Port, including a public records act lawsuit that was dismissed following a contentious dispute over the applicable statute of limitations. While the case ended, the Judge did not rule in the Port’s favor on the initial refusal to disclose. The dismissal did not address the ability of any other citizen to request full disclosure of the non-redacted Ramboll document.
“We should remember that it is wholly a choice by the Port of Seattle to refuse to disclose information about how airport operations harm our public health,” said Edmiston. “They have no legal obligation to keep it secret. It is by choice. And the information the Port is refusing to disclose includes what the Port has been told by its own consultant about our excess deaths, excess cancer rates, excess heart disease and stroke rates, interference with childhood learning, and the causal relationship between these negative outcomes and Sea-Tac Airport noise and pollution.”
Sheila Brush, Quiet Skies Puget Sound founder, will provide attendees information on Quiet Skies social media about how other citizens can make public record requests.
A number of Des Moines city leaders attended, including Des Moines Mayor Matt Mahoney, Deputy Mayor Traci Buxton, Councilmembers Gene Achziger, JC Harris, and Harry Steinmetz, and city council candidate Yoshiko Grace Matsui.
SeaTac councilmember Peter Kwon also participated.
Edmiston requested that the City also demand the Port disclose the redacted contents in the Ramboll document, and that the City expedite having Public Health – Seattle-King County present on airport impacts to the City.
Brush noted that other airport neighbor cities, including SeaTac and Burien, have already received the presentation.
Other topics discussed at the meetup by attendees included the status of the Civil Aviation Coordinating Commission (assigned the task of recommending a new airport site); federal legislation for airport communities introduced by Congressman Adam Smith; lack of progress made by the Sea-Tac Airport Round Table; and the origins of the Port of Seattle.
Next meetup is Wednesday, April 26
Quiet Skies Puget Sound has a second scheduled meetup set for Wednesday, April 26, 2023, starting at 6 p.m. at the Quarterdeck on the topic:
“WHY ELECTIONS MATTER ON AIRPORT ISSUES“
Port Commissioners Fred Felleman and Sam Cho are up for election in 2023.
So are three Des Moines council seats, along with four seats in Normandy Park, four in Federal Way, and four in SeaTac.