Local Filmmaker Steve Edmiston is challenging Port of Seattle Commissioners

Des Moines resident Steve Edmiston on Tuesday (Jan. 30) launched a new project to provide a “briefing” to the Port of Seattle that will challenge the Port to abandon “selective environmentalism” and address the substantial harms to airport neighbor communities resulting from aircraft noise and emissions resulting from increased flights at Sea-Tac Airport.

The Port Commissioners requested a briefing on these topics from the Federal Aviation Administration last Spring. Edmiston, a local attorney and filmmaker, contends his briefing is now necessary because the FAA failed to disclose to the Port the majority of facts that the Commissioners need to know about the harms being caused to humans and the environment.

“The FAA’s presentation was astounding for what it omitted,” said Edmiston. “In purporting to brief the Port about NextGen flight operations here at Sea-Tac, the FAA failed to disclose how NextGen has caused community rebellions across the country, led to successful litigation against the FAA in nearly every city it has been tried, triggered State and Federal legislation designed to reign NextGen in, and worst of all, in a briefing to address the impacts of increased flights, the FAA failed to present the growing body of science associating increased the noise and emissions flight operations with all manner of harm to humans and the environment.”

The twist – and challenge – is that Edmiston must provide his briefing in two-minute public-comment segments, as provided by Port rules. Edmiston has committed to spend no more time than the Commissioners provided to the FAA and Port staff – 43 minutes. Based upon the Port Commission’s schedule, Edmiston estimates the project will take 9 to 12 months to complete.

Edmiston seeks to provide the briefing the Port asked for, with “the full story, no sugar-coating, and fact-based.” He hopes to arm the Commissioners with information they are not being provided in order to allow them to think much more deeply – and make better decisions about – the human and environmental costs associated with the dreams of untethered growth at SeaTac.

“I’m a local citizen with no budget, no sponsors, and two minutes to talk every two weeks,” Edmiston added. “The Port has annual revenues of $670.5 million. Despite their resources, it seems no one wants to shoot straight with the Commissioners – not SeaTac, not the FAA, not industry, and not the Port staff. I hope to remedy the situation.”

Edmiston plans to film and distribute each of his “briefing” public comments to regional aviation “quiet skies” advocacy groups as well as aviation advocacy organizations around the country.

Here’s a transcript of Edmiston’s initial comments, given at the Port’s Jan. 30, 2018 meeting:

Thank you. My name is Steve Edmiston. I live in Des Moines.

Nine months ago, this commission asked for briefings from the FAA, and from your staff. These briefings were supposed to address questions about “the impacts of NextGen flight procedures on local communities.” And questions about the FAA’s role” in “addressing aircraft noise and other community impacts.” And how these issues impact our “quality of life.”

But you never actually got the briefings you asked for.

Now, it is true that on April 25th, the FAA and your staff did each make presentations. They lasted 43 minutes. But these presentations – if we measure them by the topics they chose to omit – were misleading.

They spoke about the benefits of NextGen, but they failed to brief you on the developing scientific record about the harm to human health from increased aircraft noise and emissions. They failed to brief you on the rebellions underway in communities across the country because of NextGen. They failed to brief you on the nationwide lawsuits against the FAA over NextGen. And they failed to brief you on pending state and federal legislation seeking to address the danger to human health and the environment from NextGen’s increased aircraft operations.

In light of these omissions, I think it is fair to conclude that the April 25th presentations were … incomplete. And inadequate.

I’ve come here to give you the briefing that you actually asked for. The full-story, no sugar-coating, fact-based briefing that you should have had.

Of course, this is public comment. So my briefing will come to you in two-minute public comment segments. I commit I will spend the no more time – 43 minutes – than you provided the FAA and staff. I expect it will take 10 months to complete.

My briefing will continue at the next public comment. Thank you.

Steve is a business and entertainment lawyer, screenwriter, and independent film producer. He has written and produced many feature-length and short films which have won festival awards and accolades (including “Crimes of the Past,” “The Day My Parents Became Cool,” and most recently “The Maury Island Incident”). He has been a faculty member at the Seattle Film Institute, University of Washington, and is currently a guest lecturer at Seattle University. He is an advisor to several film festivals.


12 Responses to “Local Filmmaker Steve Edmiston is challenging Port of Seattle Commissioners”
  1. Kerry Hutchins says:

    Thanks Steve and Scott for all you do to research and report on this cause on our behalf. I will make the utmost effort to free up my time to support your presentations! It’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed by the size of the Goliath we face, but if there is a David who can aim the perfect rock, it is you!!

  2. Saundra says:

    Thank you Waterland Blog for covering this very important information. Those of us who live in Burien, Normandy Park, Federal Way, and Des Moines, need to take a stand. We have a new set of Port commissioners and it’s time to let them know how this is affecting our lives.

  3. RedondoRick says:

    Thank you Steve Edmiston and Scott Schaefer.

    Today, Steve Edmiston began to tell the Port of Seattle Commissioners first hand, the injustice that the FAA and NextGen, has brought on the communities in the South end. I say began because Steve has about a 47 minute presentation to give, but is only allowed to speak for 2 minutes at a time. Do the math, he’ll finish his presentation sometime next year. That in itself, is a shame, but its a start. And it shows that we’re not going away, not anytime soon. The Port of Seattle Commissioners, have the power to end a number of issues, such as reducing the number of flights, curfews. If you have thought of joining the team, there’s not a better time to do so. Together we can right the wrong, were in this together…Contact your POS commissioners, let them know to work with its neighbors…

  4. Harry Steinmetz says:

    Steve is the man. It’s a great commitment to our airport communities to spend his time to give the POS Comishioners the information they deserve. Thank Steve.
    Thanks to Scott for giving this the coverage it deserves.

  5. Louise Wessel says:

    Steve could you put your presentation on You-Tube. Thank you for all of your hard work.

  6. Dr. Wendy Ghiora says:

    Many thanks to Steve Edmiston. He is the David confronting a Goliath industry. He is attempting to remind them that profits cannot continue to trump the serious health and environmental effects caused by the increasing air traffic from SeaTac.

  7. Dana Hollaway says:

    Thank you Steve Edmiston and Scott Schaefer for trying to educate Port of Seattle Commissioner about the impact FAA decisions is having on our local communities.

  8. Sue Petersen says:

    THANK YOU Steve for standing up for all of us who suffer from the effects of the noise and emissions we are subjected to 24 hours of every day. The Port needs to listen and learn.

  9. jm says:

    If we are subjected to the noise of the airport, it is because of our own choices to live nearby. I am not sure this is quite the right issue about which to start a crusade, but I appreciate that there is a conversation taking place.

    • BirchCreek says:

      JM, I thoughtfully considered the airplane noise when moving to Des Moines, so don’t write me off as “our own choices…”. But the level has increased with the increased air traffic. Also I believe the science of noise impact on the natural and human environement has developed over time indicating that it is not healthy.
      Thank you Steve for your hard work!

  10. Traci Buxton says:

    Thank you for you passion and hard work, Steve! I hope that you not only post to YouTube, but the community pages as well!

    Im looking forward to hearing and seeing your productions!

  11. Burinal Dumas says:

    Appreciate the effort, but come on, these people don’t care about south end residents health. They just want more profits, so they can give themselves all pay raises. The FAA doesn’t give a crap about us.

    Hopefully Paine field is a success & more & more flights go out of there, that’s our only hope to slow down SeaTac growth.

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