Suburban Communities File Another Legal Challenge
to New Runway at Seattle Airport

AUGUST 25, 1997

The cities of Normandy Park, Burien, Des Moines, Tukwila, and Federal Way and the Highline School District announced today that they are suing the Federal Aviation Administration and various federal officials over violations of federal environmental laws. The cities and the school district are part of a community-wide effort to stop the proposed runway and have organized under an umbrella group called the Airport Communities Coalition.

The ACC has filed four other lawsuits challenging the Port of Seattle and the Puget Sound Regional Council on the grounds that they violated several state environmental laws including the Growth Management Act.

"The Port and the FAA have been trying to ram this project down the throats of south King County residents for a long time -- well, those days are over," said ACC chair and Normandy Park Mayor John Rankin. "The recent Growth Management Hearings Board decision affirmed that the Port is not exempt from state law and we believe the FAA is not exempt from federal law either."

"We are absolutely confident that we will prevail in our lawsuits -- and in any event, we only need to win one," he said "This latest lawsuit against the FAA shows how committed we are to fighting this battle."

Lawyers for the ACC say the FAA's approval of the third runway is a blatant violation of federal environmental laws and the agency's role in overseeing national aviation regulations. "The FAA is supposed to conduct an independent review of the project to make sure it is consistent with state environmental laws," said ACC lawyer Peter Kirsch. "Not only is the Port's Environmental Impact Statement not consistent with federal law, I'm not sure if FAA officials even read it before they rubber stamped it."

Source: Airport Communities Coalition of Seattle