Quiet Skies Puget Sound (“QSPS”) on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 issued a statement addressing last week’s filing of a Class Action Lawsuit against the Port of Seattle for airport noise and pollution.
The group intends to discuss the lawsuit tomorrow at tomorrow’s scheduled, informal meetup event at Quarterdeck in Des Moines. Each meetup beings with a short talk, followed by community conversation.
“We have lent our voices in support the science, both global and local, from the W.H.O. 2018 Noise Guidelines to the Public Health Seattle-King County 2020 Sea-Tac Airport Public Health Study commissioned by our own State and conducted by our scientists at the University of Washington and at Public Health Seattle-King County,” QSPS said in the statement. “However, the Port of Seattle has not listened to the citizens it serves. The Port has not publicly commented upon the 2020 Public Health Study’s catastrophic findings. And the Port continues to withhold its own findings and conclusions about our public health, as contained in the increasingly infamous Port internal ‘Ramboll Report,’ now the subject of numerous pending public record requests.”
These meetup events are free, informal, and hopefully informative and fun.
- WHEN: Wednesday, April 26, 2023, starting at 6 p.m.
- WHERE: The Quarterdeck, located at 22307 Dock Ave S. Unit 1, Des Moines, WA 98198 (map below).
- TOPIC: Why local elections matter on airport issues; airport class action lawsuit.
Tuesday’s QSPS statement is below:
QUIET SKIES PUGET SOUND STATEMENT ON CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST PORT OF SEATTLE, ALASKA AIRLINES, AND DELTA AIRLINES
“Quiet Skies Puget Sound is a grass-roots volunteer collective that seeks to provide information to and advocacy for citizens impacted by the noise and pollution from Sea-Tac International Airport flight operations. We were grateful to learn of that new class action lawsuit filed against the Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Airlines (Codoni, et al v. Port of Seattle, et al) will shine a bright light the harms caused to humans from overflights, particularly for those that live closer to the airport. We have lent our voices in support the science, both global and local, from the W.H.O. 2018 Noise Guidelines to the Public Health Seattle-King County 2020 Sea-Tac Airport Public Health Study commissioned by our own State and conducted by our scientists at the University of Washington and at Public Health Seattle-King County. However, the Port of Seattle has not listened to the citizens it serves. The Port has not publicly commented upon the 2020 Public Health Study’s catastrophic findings. And the Port continues to withhold its own findings and conclusions about our public health, as contained in the increasingly infamous Port internal “Ramboll Report,” now the subject of numerous pending public record requests.
“The facts alleged in the lawsuit mirror our understanding, as citizens, of the science establishing the harms to humans caused by pollution from overflights, including significant increases in death, heart and respiratory illness rates, educational impairment, decreases in life expectancy, and overall social and environmental justice disparities. We note that this lawsuit does not specifically address the established additional harms to humans from repetitive aircraft noise, nor does it tether any specific claims to big aviation’s failure to address its staggering contributions to climate change. Similar to the claims in the lawsuit, our experience with the Port is that unimpeded business growth and economic development supersede public health and the environment. There has been no true balance or compromise. There is, however, performative “listening” supported by marketing investment, used to deploy claims of being “green” and “sustainable” in ways that have no tether to actual improvements to public health or environmental outcomes.
“We appreciate the clarity with which the lawsuit targets the Port – and not the FAA. This reflects a reality – in fact and in law – that the Port relentlessly seeks to avoid. The reality of its own responsibility. The Port consistently claims that there “is little it can do” because of federal laws and FAA control. This allows the Port to waive its “compliance” with outdated federal standards like a “get of jail free” card. Even now – this week – the Port is hosting an all-expenses trip for airport neighbor city officials to Washington, D.C., to stand side-by-side with the Port as it points to federalofficials about changes to federal law. Thus, the Port seduces local governments to join its “we don’t have to change if we keep blaming the federal government” scheme. It appears to be strategic sleight-of-hand, brilliantly executed. For clarity – it is true that federal law also lags far behind on the science, and that the FAA has been so hostile to airport neighbor communities that the FAA actually forces airports – in exchange for federal funds – to restrict the airport’s ability to mitigate. This needs to change. Our cities, our county, the Port, and our state and federal legislators all need to lead. However, the new lawsuit masterfully shows the Port’s strict adherence to the “it’s the FAA” tactic for what it is – a exculpatory variant of the “Big Tobacco” strategy, to evade and confuse citizens, and now, perhaps, local elected officials. It was no surprise that the Port’s initial comment on the lawsuit was that the Port complied with federal law Port. A classic half-truth; “compliance” is an absurdity where disease-causing ultrafine particles falling from the sky are not yet even regulated, and noise regulation standards date to the 1970s.
“To be clear, the Port does not have to behave this way. There are local officials, agencies, and even airport operators around the country that have supported citizens and public health over unyielding attachment to economic development. For example, Congressman Adam Smith, and State legislators Senator Karen Keiser and Tina Orwall, have long advocated and legislated for our airport community quality of life.
“QSPS is sorry and discouraged that a class action lawsuit was required. There’s got to be a better way. However, the Port, while possessing the greatest power in the local aviation ecosystem, has never exercised its proportionately great responsibility to our public health. This is why we agree that our democratic processes now require intervention from the courts. And why we are grateful for this lawsuit, and why we will follow it closely.”
Follow Quiet Skies Puget Sound at https://www.facebook.com/groups/QuietSkiesPugetSound.