Enumclaw must speak up and reject a local airport

The Enumclaw Plateau Community Association is helping lead the fight.

The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC) included a proposed location next to Enumclaw as a Greenfield site, which is misguided and not permissible. The state created the CACC (Senate Bill 5370), and this bill prohibits considering a location in King County. That alone should stop this site.

The CACC says more “detailed environmental” review will be done once the list is down to two sites, but there should be some initial elementary analysis. CACC says to not get too “granular” this early, but to initially not evaluate agricultural and environmental factors is astonishing.

King County established the Farmland Preservation Program, and we should not lose the benefits of this. There are five designated Agricultural Production Districts in King County encompassing 42 thousand acres, and 20,000 of those acres are on the Enumclaw Plateau. The dairy industry, other livestock, including horse breeding and horse restoration farms, will be negatively impacted. Why was there no analysis of agricultural issues?

King County spent tens of millions of dollars preserving wetlands and water quality on the plateau, protecting the critical aquifer recharge areas along the Green River. The Green River Gorge is one of the few remaining lowland gorges in the country, and is a significant recreational area. This proposed site is at the beginning of the only 12 miles of untouched wild river not impacted by urbanization. There are county and state parks along the Green River, and corridors for trails are being established to tie them together. Those riding horses and others enjoying wildlife in this area would be severely impacted by low flying aviation happening overhead. Doesn’t recreational value count?

The farmlands in this area support many migratory bird populations and flocks of seagulls, ducks, geese and swans. The Green and White Rivers and surrounding forests support many raptors. Airport locations are designed to avoid interaction with birds, yet they want to go in the middle of it all. This site reaches the Bass Lake complex, having the highest diversity of bird species in King County. Goodness!

The passes east of Enumclaw create significant winds when the atmospheric pressure is just right, and air flows up to 90 mph will be sideways to the proposed landing and take-off patterns. Isn’t that relevant?

For the three major transportation routes, two are limited by two lane bridges and the hillside by the Kummer bridge is already sloughing away. The three miles to Buckley can take up to thirty minutes. Measuring mileage distance from urban areas is one thing, but the time to travel that distance is another.

CACC should drop the SE King County site from the list. It was wrong to consider it in the first place, and shameful that they rated it so highly without factoring in relevant problems. Join the Enumclaw Plateau Community Association, the local entity addressing County issues – epca.wa@gmail.com. We have an Airport Opposition Committee to rally our voices together. Let’s stop this from happening.

Trip Hart