Despite claims that they value transparency, the Port of Olympia has been obscuring issues regarding growth at the Olympia Airport. A state airport study has identified Olympia as one of four existing airports to potentially capture expected future overflow from Sea-Tac Airport, anticipated around 2030. The Port is quietly moving forward with an airport master plan update that could be the foundation for this overflow. Public involvement and education have been insufficient regarding the implications of this new plan.
If projects laid out in the 2013 airport master plan update come to fruition, activity at the airport would increase drastically. A great many more planes would be flying over the heart of Thurston County, increasing noise and air pollution. The many impacts that increased airport operations would have on surrounding human and wildlife populations justify a comprehensive environmental review — an environmental impact statement. Noise, air quality, night lighting, traffic, and impacts on state parks, wildlife reserves and refuges, endangered species and critical habitat etc., created by the airport, would be assessed. An EIS would also incorporate the cumulative impacts of incremental airport growth, which the current process avoids. And since completing all the conceptual projects would cost about $65 million, it’s important that citizens be involved in the study.
Tell the port commissioners not to pursue a course of “Build it and They Will Come,” spending millions of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary and unwanted expansion.