Two court cases continue flights fight | Letter
Editor, The Beacon:
Fundamental flaws in the up to 50-year lease between Snohomish County and Propeller Paine Field LLC have not been resolved. A pending court case calls out the lack of due diligence in proceeding with an option to lease that provides no out clause the county.
A required impact and mitigation study under the State Environmental Policy Act was not conducted before the county committed.
Without the results of a comprehensive study, the county could not fully account for all direct and indirect costs. This exposes the county and taxpayers over time.
A second court case before the Ninth Circuit is proceeding again. The court ordered a stay when it found that no airlines were currently interested – this was no surprise to Save Our Communities.
Allegiant is a low-cost airline that does not make longterm commitments and does not want to pay its own way, as they’d prefer to be subsidized by artificially low rates. Alaska Airlines made it clear that they are not interested in Paine Field, other than turf protection.
Enter Propeller and the infamous 50-year lease, with the county handing Propeller rights to expand, transfer ownership and to be the exclusive commercial service operator – Propeller must have read Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”!
The Ninth Circuit case got moving again when the Federal Aviation Administration stated in a September letter they had reason to believe Propeller was in fact proceeding with their plans to build a terminal and execute the lease.
The FAA argued it was time for the court to make a decision. Defying logic but not politics, the FAA also determined it unnecessary to reevaluate the Environmental Assessment compiled six years ago.
The FAA officially accepted that study on Dec. 4, 2012, with a three-year shelf life – that is, until they decided that shelf life didn’t apply to Paine Field, claiming that conditions had not really changed. What?
Airlines that are no longer interested have now been replaced by Propeller with who knows what planes, routes, airlines and activity levels. And, conditions like traffic have changed in measured ways.
So, conditions have changed and they all need to be reevaluated not against a few flights a day, but against the potential scheduled service activity levels over time.
We need a proper comprehensive study of all impacts associated with changing an airport to a scheduled service airport – anything less is unacceptable.
We should ensure that reality and facts drive this decision, not politics and money. See www.socnw.org for more information.
Mike Moore, President,
Save our Communities