This site gives decision makers and residents of Seatac, Des Moines, Burien, Tukwila, Federal Way and South Seattle tools to help you in the fight to reduce the noise and pollution created by Sea-Tac Airport. We provide a clearinghouse of history, information, people and organizations to contact.

Our name is something of a misnomer. For obvious reasons, most people and advocacy groups focus on the noise problems caused by airplanes. However, it is not just the ‘noise’. Large airports create several major ongoing problems for communities. These are at least as important as noise and they include pollution, health, damage to property values and a whole range of socio-economic harms. Taken together, these issues constitute an existential threat to the health, wealth and general well-being of our communities.

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Some History

This project formally began in 2017 after I requested that the Port Of Seattle begin offering public reports on the data they collect from their flight tracking and noise monitors. There was no (legal) way to investigate how many flights were going over a particular area, at what altitude and at what noise level. So I built the reports you see on the Noise Reports page. In 2019 the Port took this idea and created their own version which you can find here.) Over time, they have continued to expand on this idea to include a wide range of public-facing statistics on airport operations.

I also realized that there was no single place where people could go to look up the information I had learned. What became clear to me is that activists over the decades had wasting untold amounts of time re-learning the same information over and over. People would do (and are still doing) the same research to find exactly the same answers as to airport law, Port history, socio-economic and health effects, etc. This has severely limited any effective resistance to the unlimited expansion of the airport.

As you can imagine, with each expansion, Sea-Tac Airport provokes  community resistance. Plus, there have been similar issues with every other major airport in the United States. This has created an astounding amount of State and Federal law and scientific research.  I quickly realized that the amount of information I wanted to gather into some sort of digestible form was beyond any one person’s ability to manage.

So in 2017 I enlisted help from attorney Miles Benjamin, research librarian Paula Domingues and retired FAA trainer Stephen Farren. And that’s when SeatacNoise really got rolling. A major part of our work is cataloguing every piece of data relevant to Sea-Tac Airport since 1959, including information from cities, local advocacy groups, King County, Puget Sound Regional Council, the State Of Washington and of course the Port Of Seattle. One major goal we have is to be a one-stop shop for information on the operation, politics and impacts of Sea-Tac Airport.

Another goal we are working on is a book called A Community History Of Sea-Tac Airport. Although there are many sources of information on the  the airport itself, they are usually brief and seen almost completely from the point of view of passengers, airlines and the Port Of Seattle. This book will also cover the politics of how and why the airport expanded over time and the effects on impacted communities.

Current Affairs

We are now able to provide several types of advocacy for residents who have been harmed by Sea-Tac Airport. This includes work on a range of legislation as well as our Port Package Problems project.

In 2019, we began the first attempt at analyzing the noise mitigation programs of all major airports around the United States. When complete, we hope to provide the first true comparison of how these airports treat their residents.

Perhaps our biggest contribution thus far has been to make the Port Of Seattle more transparent. Since we came along, the Port Of Seattle has dramatically improved the amount and types of information it provides the public about Sea-Tac Airport.

—JC Harris