The Pierce County Council unanimously passed a resolution formally requesting that two sites be removed from consideration for Washington state’s next major airport.
The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission proposed three “greenfield” sites for a new commercial airport in Washington state as part of a plan to address the fact that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is on track to exceed its capacity by 2050.
The three sites were chosen from a list of 10 greenfield, or undeveloped, locations by the commission, which was tasked by the state Legislature in 2019 with identifying a potential site for a new airport to be constructed by 2040.
The three sites chosen are dubbed “Pierce County East,” “Pierce County Central” and “Thurston County Central.”
“Pierce County East” is the designation for a six-mile radius area south of Graham that includes state Route 161. “Pierce County Central” is a six-mile radius south of South Creek in an area where state routes 702 and 7 converge.
Thurston County Central” is a six-mile radius southeast of east Olympia.
Councilmember Ryan Mello summed up opposition to the idea of siting a new airport in Pierce County.
“All of us get on airplanes,” he said at the Feb. 7 meeting. “We all know we have aviation challenges — that Sea-Tac airport is at capacity. But that doesn’t mean that we need to build a new airport at a greenfield site at the expense of our rural heritage and our working lands and habitat land and quality of life in rural Pierce County.”
Meanwhile, the Washington State Legislature is responding to the controversy in the form of House Bill 1791, which calls for the creation of a workgroup to replace the CACC.
HB 1791 is set for a public hearing before the House Transportation Committee Thursday.
In other business, the council confirmed the appointment of Sammie Jo Thirtyacre to the Pierce County Veterans Advisory Board.
The council also passed a resolution recognizing February 2023 as “National Parent Leadership Month” in Pierce County.