Warning! I am a satirist! If you do not have a sense of humor or are easily-offended, these blogs may not be for you. May I interest you in an innocuous episode of Peppa Pig instead?
Not Why We Moved Here
I received the text from my cousin on October 27th, and did not really realize what I was reading at first.
My cousin and his wife just moved back up to Washington in February of this year. I helped them. In fact, I suggested their new home to them, and sent them pictures and walk-through videos. I met with their realtor up for them since they were on the other side of the country. As it turns out, their new home is now a half-mile from what might become a mega airport with huge urban sprawl.
For us, we thought we moved to a place with peace and quiet. People generally move to a rural area because they are seeking peace and quiet. Now, I realize that my readers will be aware that we have a 6- and a 3-year-old and therefore are daily deprived of anything remotely resembling peace or quiet. But you could say that we moved here to balance things out.
We may have been wrong. Now, don't get me wrong: I do enjoy a good fly-by from Ghost Rider like the next voice actor, as long as my studio is 800' underground buried under molten rock and carbonite, and we are talking about a paper airplane. I do not want any planes in my sky...ever. When I first started out in voiceovers, we lived far up north near Paine Field in Everett. Occasionally, while recording, I would have to pause everything, and wait until the skies cleared before I could reconvene recording. An incredible nuisance, and how dare they. Do they not know who I am?
Welp, here we perhaps go again...
In May of 2019, SSB 5370 was passed in Washington, creating a state Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC, pronounced like "cack" as in ipecac which is used to induce vomit, which brings us right back to CACC). What was the bill for, you might ask?
A committee to decide where a new mega-airport goes. And one of those locations is roughly 7-10 miles south by southwest of us. Close to my cousin's house. And not just any airport. A mega-airport. And not just any mega-airport. One that would see a runway pointing north by northeast. Right at us. With a flight path of roughly 3000 feet: Right. Over. Our. Home.
It is every voice actor’s nightmare.
There are 300,000 residents in Thurston County. Public outcry is growing, and a movement is awakening. But will it be enough? There are three potential sites for a new major airport in Washington state, as SeaTac is outgrowing itself, and commercial aviation expects passenger flights to grow to 80-94 million passengers by 2040. A decision will be made in June of 2023 on where exactly said new airport will go. Unless they want every single plane flying over my home to be covered in spitwads, they will wisely choose somewhere else.
Thurston County, our county, is one of those choices for a 6-mile diameter new mega-airport.
We are holding our angry breath until then, and doing something about it with groups like Stop The Airport. Why?
No Good Can Come Of This
Because no good can come of this. That is why.
Aside from the sheer noise, what will happen if the airport gets built?
- People being forced out of their homes due to eminent domain.
- Homes bulldozed.
- 14,397 residents in the 6-mile target zone: 3164 houses, 141 businesses. Gone. Residents offered paltry sums for their properties and homes – and nothing for the loss of their livelihood.
- Important wetlands – critical to the ecosystem of carbon neutrality and heat absorption – drained and paved over. Estuaries and nature preserves gone. A “greenfield” in aviation terms, is an area where an airport has never been. I may not be a smart man, but I do understand "green" + "field" to mean "not" + "airport".
- Farms decades in the making: razed and destroyed.
- One realtor estimated property values plummeting as much as 80% (!!!) and while I think that is an exaggeration, property values will take a hit. And home loans could be underwater as a result: ours potentially included.
- Additional homes beyond the 6-mile zone would be affected due to commercial needs from expanded railways and commercial districts.
- Impact on the Nisqually Tribe living in the area and entitled to protection.
- Impact on local military Joint Base Lewis McChord and associated flight paths.
- Endangered species potentially extinct in this local ecosystem.
- 79 acres of important orca and salmon habitats displaced.
- 12 federally threatened or endangered species within the circle of the planned airport would be further endangered.
- Health risks extend 12 miles from around the airport, primarily from air pollution, which can lead to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.
I had asthma as a child. Asthma affects your breathing ability. I am predisposed to asthma. I was always under the impression that I would need to breathe to perform voiceovers. As you can see, this is no small issue.
In 2021, the Washington State Climate Control Act was signed. Everything I have just listed contradicts that Act. There are also conflicts with the Shoreline Management act, the Growth Management Act mandates, the Critical Area designations, the Endangered Species Act, etc. And the most damning of all: this proposal will eliminate protection of our major aquifer recharge zones and wellheads…permanently.
We would be living in a commercial construction zone for TWENTY YEARS.
78,000 additional residents beyond the actual 6-mile airport radius will be affected by noise and pollution.
Sounds great and perfectly healthy to me.
Know: No Flying Aloud Allowed!
No one wants this airport. I certainly do not. Short of losing my voice entirely, it's every voice talent's worst nightmare: noise.
On October 24th this year, the Port of Olympia voted 3-0 to oppose the airport. There are legislators and policymakers sympathetic to our cause and who have expressed opposition to the airport, but they must be routinely convinced in preparation for the June 2023 date.
In short, as stated by one user of the Facebook "Stop The Airport" group:
The CACC is violating its mandate. Legislative Oversight was decommissioned (ended) under Governor Inslee in 2014. "The WSDOT Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC) is operating without legislative oversight and has exceeded its legislated mandate to not consider siting a new international airport on or near a military installation that would be incompatible with the installation's ability to carry out its mission requirements. All three proposed greenfield sites are near, adjacent to, or overlap JBLM, violating the CACC's legislated mandate to avoid military installations (SSB 5689 and SSB 5165). The lack of legislative oversight has created a wasteful, industry led commission that is ignoring the will of the legislature. Government Accountability and Oversight must be reestablished to ensure compliance with legislative intent, evaluate agency performance, and prevent executive encroachment on legislative prerogatives and powers."
If you are in Thurston County, write to Governor Jay Inslee. Write to your legislators.
If you are a voice talent - anywhere! - and you hear talk of a mega airport under consideration around where you live, as in the words of Geena Davis in The Fly:
Do something about it. Become an activist.
For us, June 2023 will be an important date to determine whether or not we stay or move from our dream home and property...before its value plummets.
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