Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tree removal near Sea-Tac Airport being required by the Feds, not the Port

The proposed cutting down of “the draconian 2,270 trees” in the flight path corridors at Sea-Tac Airport was highlighted at the SeaTac City Council session Tuesday night (Sept. 13), with the Port of Seattle plan being opposed by the administrator of the South King County Cultural Association.

Councilmembers, however, were told that the Port was only carrying out the mandate of the Federal Aviation Administration. Not to do what the FAA requires could have drastic implications, even to curtailing the number or type of flights, or possibly even losing federal grants to help finance the airport and the area.

Barbara McMichael, the administrator of the cultural association, said “one of the things that has come up increasingly (from her members) is about trees,” and the fact that the “wholesale removal of so many trees from our community is becoming of increasing concern for our members … and the Port of Seattle’s plan to remove anywhere from 1,600 to 2,270 trees.”

She said that not all of the trees can be saved, but perhaps most not would have to go.

Don’t blame Port

The Port of Seattle is not the instigator of the tree removal program, as it is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration that controls all planes when they are taking off, landing or are in flight.

Plus, Port officials in charge of the program say the removal of trees on private property will not begin until 2018, and after a thorough research of each situation.

All federally charged airports are required each five years to survey landing and takeoff zones by the FAA, and it requires removal of anything over a set height. The official name of the program is the “Flight Safety Corridor Program.”

Unlike some cities in the nation, at Sea-Tac Airport there are no buildings that have to be removed. In one city a tall apartment had to be torn down.

Here, the Port of Seattle plans to replace the removed trees with 4,000 native species trees to replace 2,270 trees taken down. The replaced trees are of a type that will not grow high enough to be problems in the future, Port officials told The SeaTac Blog on Thursday.

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