The following statement on the Sea-Tac Part 150 noise study has been submitted to the Port Commission by RCAA.
The Part 150 noise study has fallen far behind the published schedule. Public-participation is suffering as a result. We fear that the consultants will make major decisions outside of public view, in order to catch up.
Let’s review: In order to do meaningful noises reduction, you have to understand where the noise comes from. That requires that you have good data on certain key elements --
* the fleet mix &
* flight operations, present & future
In order to predict future flight operations in detail, you need to know how the various runways will be used: you need a runway-usage plan. You also need aviation forecasts, estimates of future travel for the whole airport.
From all of this information, you can prepare noise exposure maps to tell you where noise is being experienced, & you can then propose methods to reduce the noise. And the point of this exercise is to reduce the noise. Reduction is cheaper than mitigation.
Aviation forecasts for the Airport were scheduled for completion in early May, but so far the consultants have released no information about that key element.
Nothing in the way of a runway usage plan has even been discussed with the public. It is true that in the end the actual runway usage plan will come from the FAA, but the consultants cannot wait for the FAA to make a proposal. In a Part 150 study, proposals come from the airport operator (that’s the Commission), & the airport operator hires a consultant to make proposals.
Noise-exposure maps as of the present are due out next month. The public does not know what will be mapped or how.
The schedule calls for the consultants to produce their analysis of future noise exposure in September. This work will apparently be completed before the next opportunity for public input, which is the workshop planned for October.
No runway-usage plan, no traffic forecasts, & no current noise data. All these key elements are to be dealt with in the Summer and Fall, with no public involvement, to be followed by publication of maps of future noise exposure, again with no public involvement till after the decisions are made.
If you have the key elements, you can know where the noise is. If you develop the data for these key elements with no significant public involvement, then you do not have meaningful public participation, no matter how many workshops are held, no matter how many slides there are in your Powerpoint presentations. And as you move to the stage of proposing noise remedies, you will NOT have consensus on the underlying data. And you will not have much public acceptance of the final results of the study.