Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Burien, King County, Washington: More airplane noise expected

Returning and increased airplane noise over Burien is likely after the the Federal Aviation Administration claims that it can ignore potential environmental rules to permit more prop-jet planes to fly low over Burien

A retired commercial pilot and former FAA inspector says such a move benefits wealthy corporations and imposes unnecessary penalties on Burien citizens.

The Burien Council on Monday (April 16) was also told by the new King County Sheriff that she is working on shoring up her police agency to gird against an increase in violent crime. Her agency by contract furnishes the members of the Burien Police Department.

Plane noise in Burien

City Attorney Lisa Marshall told the Council about the FAA’s decision-to issue what it calls a Categorical Exclusion or “CATEX” in governmental jargon. Simply stated, it means no fewer planes will turn left over Burien and probably means more planes will come over the city, perhaps at a level remembered in the past.

The categorical exclusion (CATEX) effectively means that the FAA is “not required to follow its own rules” and that the administration can implement the change without filing otherwise required permission requests under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which might force the FAA to not order all flight to turns over Burien. It had, in the past, said the turns would be allowed only by flight by flight decisions.

Now it appears the turns will be automatic for all turbo flights to the north from Sea-Tac, but Marshall told Council it “intended to cease the automatic 250 degree heading during nighttime hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., removing a few flights over the city.”

Marshall said the city listened but did not comment on the recent FAA meeting on the decision to go back to the turns over the city and the city is reviewing its options with city officials and its hired legal experts as how to proceed.

Burien did file last year a motion to the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth circuit in San Francisco seeking to overturn the FAA implementation of a 250-degree heading for turbo props whenever the with is coming from the north. All planes, large and small, take off into the wind and when that wind it from a northerly direction, then planes will take off toward the north and turboprop passenger planes will be ordered to make a hard left turn shortly after they leave the runway surface and fly west over Burien at a variety of elevations, but low enough to cause noisy distraction below.

Marshall said Burien residents last year submitted “over 700 comments were submitted containing narratives of the impacts to the citizens of the community (that) such extraordinary circumstances exist.” The city can amend its existing petition to the court within 30 days or a new petition within 60 days and she said city administrators would report to Council any new information as it develops.

Larry Cripe, president of the Quiet Skies Coalition, told the Council his organization will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Gregory Heights Elementary School, and invited all to what likely will be a packed house.

Walt Bala, a retired pilot and former FAA inspector, said he was still analyzing the FAA CATEX decision but believes “the decision was made first, and then the justification afterwards.”

“I believe their procedure benefits wealthy corporations and imposes an unnecessary penalty on our citizens, many under the flight path who are economically disadvantaged,” said Bala. “I will not rest until we have exercised every option to expose the arbitrary and capricious nature of this procedure.”

Bala said the FAA says this is done for safety and efficiency and he said he can see possible efficiency reasons, but if it’s because of safety how did they get along without the change years ago? “I don’t think there’s a safety issue here.”

Cripe said that on July 26, 2016, “behind closed doors, the acting director of the FAA said clearly at the end of an all-day meeting, ‘I want all this traffic over the city of Burien and Seahurst. They don’t have the money or the stamina to fight me.’”

Bala said that was from a former bureaucrat, behind closed doors. “That can’t be tolerated by anyone in this room. This city, this state should be outraged by that kind of behavior.”

Former Councilmember Debi Wagner, a member of the Quiet Skies Coalition, said the real meaning of the categorical exception is to begin to build the traffic for Sea-Tac Airport over the “communities that are already overburdened.” The FAA believes the added traffic at the airport “isn’t going to harm anybody” and if anybody is, “they can mitigate it.” But the noise insulation project has never been proven to be successful, she said.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://b-townblog.com

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