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File #: 2021-0337    Version: 1
Type: Ordinance Status: In Committee
File created: 9/7/2021 In control: Government Accountability and Oversight Committee
On agenda: Final action:
Enactment date: Enactment #:
Title: AN ORDINANCE related to environment, health, climate and community impacts of activities at King County International Airport/Boeing Field; and amending Ordinance 1159, as amended, and K.C.C. Title 15.
Sponsors: Joe McDermott, Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Indexes: Airport, Boeing, Climate Change, environment, Health, King County
Attachments: 1. 2021-0337_SR_KCIA Omnibus Legislation.docx, 2. 2021-0337 Adrienne Hampton-Clarridge Written Public Comment 10_12 .pdf, 3. 2021-0337 Maria Batayola re King County International Airport (KCIA).pdf


Clerk 09/23/2021


AN ORDINANCE related to environment, health, climate and community impacts of activities at King County International Airport/Boeing Field; and amending Ordinance 1159, as amended, and K.C.C. Title 15.



King County has owned and operated the King County International Airport since the voters approved its initial funding in 1928.

The airport sits within the Duwamish valley and runs parallel to the Duwamish river. It is located mostly within the city of Seattle with the northern boundary just south of Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood and the airport’s southern tip extending into the city of Tukwila.

The majority of residents in communities adjacent to the airport are people of color and people with low incomes. Of the 5,600 residents who live in South Park and Georgetown, 70 percent are people of color, 42 percent are foreign-born, and 71 percent have an income 200 percent below the federal poverty line. 

There are 12 playgrounds and play fields, 21 parks, 31 schools, and 61 places of worship within two miles of the airport. 

The 2013 Cumulative Health Impacts Analysis published by Just Health Action and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group characterizes the disproportionate exposure to air pollution, lack of greenspace, and high poverty rates contributing to life expectancy in South Park and Georgetown that is 13 years lower than wealthier communities in Seattle.

Residents of communities affected by the airport operations and business interests dependent on the airport have repeatedly expressed concerns about airport noise and environmental health impacts. 

King County is committed to creating economic opportunity for all, stewarding our environment responsibly, partnering with communities, centering equity and social justice, and being transparent and accountable.

King County has historic involvement in the Duwamish valley through the superfund cleanup and remediation as part of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group along with the city of Seattle, Port of Seattle, and Boeing. The Lower Duwamish Waterway Group has collectively invested approximately $50M in investigating contamination in the lower Duwamish waterway, developed approaches for cleanup of the waterway and means to prevent recontamination through source control.

On October 11, 2010, Ordinance 16948, also referred to as the "Equity and Social Justice Ordinance," was enacted establishing equity and social justice from an initiative to an integrated effort that intentionally applies the countywide strategic plan's principle of "fair and just" in all the county does in order to achieve equitable opportunities for all people and communities.

On July 24, 2020, with Motion 15655, the King County council declared racism a public health crisis and affirmed its commitment to maintain and incorporate into its work a public health approach to addressing institutional and system racism across King County government, and to rectify historic and current day trauma and disproportionality. It also recognized that eliminating racist policies and practices and the conditions that result in disparate access to resources and opportunities based on race requires engaging and being responsive to communities and residents impacted by racism, especially Black and Indigenous communities, as partners in identifying and implementing antiracist solutions, policies and practices. The council committed to using its authority to enact anti-racist policies and practices that will meet human needs, promote healthy and strong communities, reduce structural inequities and advance equity and justice by eliminating policies and practices designed to oppress marginalized people.

On May 4, 2021, Motion 15866 recognized that the impacts of a changing climate do not affect all King County residents in the same way. Climate change is a threat multiplier and its impacts can magnify existing health issues and limited access to resources that are already experienced disproportionally by Black, Indigenous and people of color.

Consistent with its equity and social justice strategic plan and commitment to environmental justice called for in Ordinance 19041, King County is committed to strengthening engagement with communities facing the greatest impacts from climate change and create opportunities for shared leadership and decision-making to develop solutions and prioritize investments.
The airport is one of the nation's busiest primary non-hub airports. The airport averages 180,000 takeoffs and landings each year with an economic impact of over $5 billion in our regional economy through labor income, business revenues and value added to the gross state and regional product. 

King County council believes it is imperative to understand the role that the airport plays in the region and how airport operations impact airport-adjacent communities.  The council is committed to working with airport-adjacent communities to address these impacts. 


                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 1.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. 15.08 a new section to read as follows:

                     Overburdened Community.  A geographic area where vulnerable populations face combined, multiple environmental harms and health impacts, and includes, but is not limited to, high impacted communities as defined in RCW 19.405.020.

                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 2.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. 15.08 a new section to read as follows:

                     Vulnerable Populations.  Population groups that are racial or ethnic minorities, low-income, disproportionately impacted by environmental harms and population groups likely to be at higher risk for poor health outcomes in response to environmental harms due to:

                     A. Adverse socio-economic factors such as unemployment, high housing and transportation costs relative to income, limited access to nutritious food and adequate health care, linguistic isolation, and other factors that negatively affect health outcomes and increase vulnerability to the effects of environmental harms; and

                     B. Sensitivity factors, such as low birth weight and higher rates of hospitalization.


                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 3.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. Title 15 a new chapter to read as follows:

                                          A.  The airport shall incorporate into the airport master plan, capital program, budget, operations and environmental programs the policies set forth in the following county documents and programs: Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan; Strategic Climate Action Plan; King County Countywide Planning Policies; Real Property Asset Management Plan; Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Strategic Plan, Carbon Neutral Implementation Plan; King County Operational Cost of Carbon Report and King County Priority Hire Program.

                     B.  The airport shall incorporate into the airport master plan, capital program, budget, operations and environmental programs the following county initiatives and programs: racism as a public health crisis, zero emission fleet, urban heat island mitigation and 1 million trees.


                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 4.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. Title 15 a new chapter to read as follows:

                     A.  The airport shall conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of all aeronautical, land transportation and airport activities at the airport.  At minimum the assessment shall include the environmental and cumulative impacts of airport infrastructure, ground traffic, de-icing products, aircraft refueling, fuel storage,  aircraft movement, and waste produced by maintenance of the airport and facilities.  Environmental and cumulative impacts refer to impacts to waste output, climate, noise, landscape, water quality, air quality, biodiversity and public health. The assessment shall also include a race, social and economic equity analysis to inform and support the consideration of overburdened communities and vulnerable populations when making decisions.  The airport shall update the assessment every ten years.

                     B.  Beginning on March 1, 2022, the airport shall conduct studies related to the following:

                     1.                       Public Health outcomes related to air, noise and heat emissions and ultrafine particles resulting from airport activities and strategies to prevent and mitigate those outcomes.

                     2. Measurement, prevention and mitigation of airport noise.  The airport may use procedures set out in the federal Airport Noise Compatibility Planning Program, also known as the Part 150 Program, or may use alternatives reflective of the human experience of noise spikes or other methods.

                     3. Measurement and mitigation of emissions including, but not limited to, greenhouse gasses, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, ultra-fine particles, black carbon, fuel burn and carbon dioxide related to activity of the airport.  To ensure best practices for measurement methodologies, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, preventative and mitigation strategies, the airport shall adhere to recommendations adopted by the council of the joint aircraft emission technical and community task force. The airport shall also work to achieve any Council adopted emissions reduction targets.  The airport shall partner with the Puget Sound clean air agency, University of Washington or another institution chosen in consultation with the King County International Airport Community Advisory Committee established in K.C.C. 15.xx to conduct this work.

                     4.  Measurement, prevention and mitigation of increases in thermal air created by airport operations.

                     C. The airport shall update the studies set forth in K.C.C. every five years.

                     D. The airport shall transmit each study and a motion that should acknowledge receipt of each study to council.  Each study shall also be made accessible on the airport’s website and distributed to members of the airport round table and the airport community advisory committee established in K.C.C. 15.xx.

                     E.  The airport shall engage with regional climate partners as described in the King County 2020 Strategic Action Climate Plan, section GHG 1.1.4.


                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 5.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. Title 15 a new chapter to read as follows:

                     The King County International Airport Community Advisory Committee (hereafter "committee") is hereby established. It shall be comprised of five members representing [FISCAL SPONSOR to be inserted once established] of King County International Airport Community Coalition.  Committee members shall recommend up to five additional candidates to the executive for appointment.  Candidates recommended by the committee shall represent over-burdened communities and vulnerable populations that are disproportionately impacted by activities at the airport and representatives from community-based organizations that serve residents of airport-adjacent Duwamish valley neighborhoods, including but not limited to, Georgetown, South Park, Tukwila-Allentown and Beacon Hill, as well as representatives from climate and other organizations.


                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 6.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. Title 15 a new section to read as follows

                     A.  The committee shall advise and make recommendations to the airport management, county executive and county council ways to strengthen the community-airport relationship, improve environmental health of highly impacted residents and livability of highly impacted neighborhoods, and increase access to workforce and economic development opportunities for residents of airport-adjacent Duwamish valley neighborhoods, including but not limited to Georgetown, South Park, Tukwila-Allentown and Beacon Hill communities.  Examples of the coalition's duties shall include, but not be limited to: providing input on the airport’s draft reports, including the reports outlined in Section 2; review and provide input on the airport’s budget; advise on airport-related community engagement plans; assist with development of major airport plans, such as the airport master plan, to ensure the airport’s consideration of adjacent overburdened communities and vulnerable populations. When transmitting a budget, plan or policy proposal to council, the airport and executive shall include a record of the coalition's feedback and recommendations.  The committee may present its recommendations directly to the executive or council. 

          B.  The county, airport and advisory coalition shall co-create a community benefits agreement addressing the environmental, climate, health, economic and livability concerns of residents and workers in airport-adjacent Duwamish valley neighborhoods, including but not limited to Georgetown, South Park, Tukwila-Allentown and Beacon Hill communities. The policy directives and actions outlined in the agreement shall strive to address the concerns of over-burdened communities and vulnerable populations, especially residents and workers of color, immigrants, refugees, Native Americans, people with low incomes, people experiencing houselessness, youth, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, and women- and people of color-owned businesses and organizations.  The agreement shall be transmitted for county council consideration by December 31, 2022. The agreement shall include the following:

                     1.  A policy directive establishing scope, responsibilities, guiding principles, shared goals, a list of immediate and future actionable items, a strategy and timeline to accomplish goals and auditable reporting standards;

                     2.  A sample work plan. Examples of potential work plan items include: ways to improve targeted local hire recruitment and targeted selection of Black, Indigenous and People of Color, immigrant and refugee, and LGTBQ communities for airport training apprenticeships, jobs, and contracts; an environmental, health and spill and incident prevention and mitigation plan for communities near the fuel storage farm; a written community engagement and consultation plan for proposed changes to Perimeter Road; ways in which the airport can engage with the community to provide cost-free event space for uses including meetings and engagement with city of Seattle, county and regional agencies; a list of green canopy options, with an emphasis on species native to the Duwamish river valley, or landscape options to address heat, air quality and noise concerns; community engagement guidelines related to airport assessment of a property acquisition; a study that defines opportunities within the county’s legal authority to prevent and address displacement; and ways in which the airport can engage with community on emergency planning.                     

3. A sample evaluation plan to determine whether the airport is meeting benchmarks and metrics related to goals set forth in the sample work plan.

          C.  If approved by a majority of members, the committee may appoint, and the executive may hire, a third party to facilitate discussion between the county and the coalition.

                     D. If approved by a majority of members, and in consultation with county representatives, the committee may engage a liaison from the Federal Aviation Administration. 

                     E.  The committee shall not be merged with the King County Airport roundtable.


                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 7.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. Title 15 a new section to read as follows:

                     The executive shall appoint county representatives who shall be responsible for providing administrative support to the committee.  The county representatives shall be employees from the following agencies: the airport, office of equity and social justice, the Public Health Seattle-King County Climate Health Action Team, and county staff for the Climate Equity Community Task Force.  An additional county representative shall be the councilmember representing the council district where the airport is located, or their representative. Representatives from relevant jurisdictions’ Emergency Management departments or offices should be invited to participate. 


                     NEW SECTION. SECTION 8.  There is hereby added to K.C.C. Title 15 a new section to read as follows:

                     In accordance with K.C.C. 2.28.006, excepting advisory members, members of the committee who are neither employees of King County employees of other municipal governments shall receive compensation of one hundred fifty dollars per meeting of the committee.  The maximum annual compensation that a committee member may receive is two thousand five hundred dollars.  The purpose of the compensation is to compensate those nongovernmental employees for their experience and expertise contribution to the advisory committee.

                     SECTION 9.  Sections 3 through 5 of this ordinance should constitute new chapters in K.C.C. Title 15.

                     SECTION 10.  Sections 6 through 8 of this ordinance should each be added to the new chapter established in Section 5 of this ordinance.