Muckleshoot Tribal Council Calls on CACC to Remove Southeast King County Airport Site

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Muckleshoot Tribal Council Calls on CACC to Remove Southeast King County Airport Site

The tribe shared environmental, transportation and other issues with the hypothetical airport.

The Muckleshoot Tribal Council, the governing body of the Muckleshoot Tribe, has asked commissioners studying sites for Washington’s next major airport to remove the Plateau from their consideration.

The Tribal Council shared its letter to the commission Wednesday on Facebook, outlining several serious concerns the “King County Southeast” site would pose to the Muckleshoot community if selected.

A quick recap: “King County Southeast” is one of ten “greenfield” (i.e. new and undeveloped) sites studied and presented by a consulting firm in June to the United Nations Coordinating Commission. commercial aviation (CACC), which was created in 2019 by the State. legislature to research and recommend a solution to the state’s growing need for a new airport.

CACC is not permitted by law to consider a solution in King County, but the consultant was not subject to this restriction. The presentation raised eyebrows locally, as construction on the “King County Southeast” site, located just east of the Muckleshoot Reservation, would forever change the character of the plateau and cause massive changes to local traffic, the wildlife, residents and infrastructure.

Because the CACC can’t recommend “King County Southeast,” it won’t, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. But the CACC is only an advisory group, and the ability to place a new airport rests with the FAA, the state legislature, and an airport sponsor. So far, no sponsor has shown interest in the site, and local lawmakers have denounced the idea.

The CCCA will present its two main recommendations in October and a final recommendation in June.

This letter from the Muckleshoot Tribal Council, sent to the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission, outlines the council’s view of the hypothetical Southeast King County airport.

Based on information from the CACC and the tribe’s own research, “we have concluded that the negative impact in general and on tribal facilities and operations in particular would be significant and would fundamentally change the character of the southeast region. of King’s County”. reads the letter, signed by Tribal Council Vice Chairman Donny Stevenson and addressed to CACC Chairman David Fleckenstein. “For these and other reasons, we request that this site be removed from further review.”

The Tribal Council highlights the following concerns regarding the location:

1. Many important tribal settlements are very close to the green zone. Placing a major airport essentially next door would likely have a severe effect on employees and tribal members trying to access those facilities.

2. The transport infrastructure in the region is already stretched and the ability to expand it is limited. Adding a major airport could make the situation worse and create major problems for tribal businesses such as the Muckleshoot Casino, Bingo Hall, Smokehouse, and White River Amphitheater, among other businesses.

3. The facility would pose major environmental issues, including a threat to salmon habitat, wetlands, and other environmental investments that the Muckleshoot Tribe and other groups have spent time and money improving.

4. Many tribal members and their families live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site and would be directly, immediately affected.

“While we appreciate the need to expand commercial aviation and cargo services in the Puget Sound area, the Muckleshoot Tribal Council cannot support the siting of such a facility in the Southeast region. of the county,” the letter concludes.

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