From our sister site The Waterland Blog:

Des Moines resident Steve Edmiston on Tuesday (Jan. 30) launched a new project to provide a “briefing” to the Port of Seattle that will challenge the Port to abandon “selective environmentalism” and address the substantial harms to airport neighbor communities resulting from aircraft noise and emissions resulting from increased flights at Sea-Tac Airport.

The Port Commissioners requested a briefing on these topics from the Federal Aviation Administration last Spring. Edmiston, a local attorney and filmmaker, contends his briefing is now necessary because the FAA failed to disclose to the Port the majority of facts that the Commissioners need to know about the harms being caused to humans and the environment.

“The FAA’s presentation was astounding for what it omitted,” said Edmiston. “In purporting to brief the Port about NextGen flight operations here at Sea-Tac, the FAA failed to disclose how NextGen has caused community rebellions across the country, led to successful litigation against the FAA in nearly every city it has been tried, triggered State and Federal legislation designed to reign NextGen in, and worst of all, in a briefing to address the impacts of increased flights, the FAA failed to present the growing body of science associating increased the noise and emissions flight operations with all manner of harm to humans and the environment.”

The twist – and challenge – is that Edmiston must provide his briefing in two-minute public-comment segments, as provided by Port rules. Edmiston has committed to spend no more time than the Commissioners provided to the FAA and Port staff – 43 minutes. Based upon the Port Commission’s schedule, Edmiston estimates the project will take 9 to 12 months to complete.

Edmiston seeks to provide the briefing the Port asked for, with “the full story, no sugar-coating, and fact-based.” He hopes to arm the Commissioners with information they are not being provided in order to allow them to think much more deeply – and make better decisions about – the human and environmental costs associated with the dreams of untethered growth at SeaTac.

“I’m a local citizen with no budget, no sponsors, and two minutes to talk every two weeks,” Edmiston added. “The Port has annual revenues of $670.5 million. Despite their resources, it seems no one wants to shoot straight with the Commissioners – not SeaTac, not the FAA, not industry, and not the Port staff. I hope to remedy the situation.”

Edmiston plans to film and distribute each of his “briefing” public comments to regional aviation “quiet skies” advocacy groups as well as aviation advocacy organizations around the country.

Here’s a transcript of Edmiston’s initial comments, given at the Port’s Jan. 30, 2018 meeting:

Thank you. My name is Steve Edmiston. I live in Des Moines.

Nine months ago, this commission asked for briefings from the FAA, and from your staff. These briefings were supposed to address questions about “the impacts of NextGen flight procedures on local communities.” And questions about the FAA’s role” in “addressing aircraft noise and other community impacts.” And how these issues impact our “quality of life.”

But you never actually got the briefings you asked for.

Now, it is true that on April 25th, the FAA and your staff did each make presentations. They lasted 43 minutes. But these presentations – if we measure them by the topics they chose to omit – were misleading.

They spoke about the benefits of NextGen, but they failed to brief you on the developing scientific record about the harm to human health from increased aircraft noise and emissions. They failed to brief you on the rebellions underway in communities across the country because of NextGen. They failed to brief you on the nationwide lawsuits against the FAA over NextGen. And they failed to brief you on pending state and federal legislation seeking to address the danger to human health and the environment from NextGen’s increased aircraft operations.

In light of these omissions, I think it is fair to conclude that the April 25th presentations were … incomplete. And inadequate.

I’ve come here to give you the briefing that you actually asked for. The full-story, no sugar-coating, fact-based briefing that you should have had.

Of course, this is public comment. So my briefing will come to you in two-minute public comment segments. I commit I will spend the no more time – 43 minutes – than you provided the FAA and staff. I expect it will take 10 months to complete.

My briefing will continue at the next public comment. Thank you.

Steve is a business and entertainment lawyer, screenwriter, and independent film producer. He has written and produced many feature-length and short films which have won festival awards and accolades (including “Crimes of the Past,” “The Day My Parents Became Cool,” and most recently “The Maury Island Incident”). He has been a faculty member at the Seattle Film Institute, University of Washington, and is currently a guest lecturer at Seattle University. He is an advisor to several film festivals.

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