Organizing and Advocating to Solve Beacon Hill Air & Noise Pollution Health Impacts

The Problem?

Beacon hill is 6 miles long with 1-2 mile across. We are a majority minority vulnerable neighborhood. We are surrounded by major roadways Aircraft fly over us every 90 seconds on the average at 70-90 decibels, well above the 55 decibels during the day and 45 at night standard. Air pollution impacts our respiratory health and noise impacts our stress levels, sleep, cardiovascular health and learning We cannot get mitigation because we are not a fenceline community located next to an airport. But, we are a “vertical fenceline” community because the flight paths are fixed, and we get 70% of the aircraft that land in SeaTac.

On top of this, SeaTac is planning to accommodate the doubling of international flights, tripling of air cargo and increase from 47 to 66 million passengers under SAMP (Sustainable Airport Master Plan). We gave input to the scope of the EIS (environmental impact statement). The EIS will come out this fall 2020 and we must be ready to respond.

What can you do? Volunteer, Join us.

Our work is guided by our grassroots Community Action Plan. Join us in implementing the 8 action items recommended by our 467 community members. This year, we are organizing to pass the HB 1847 Airplane Noise Abatement to include Beacon Hill. This is our best shot so far. We are also working with US Rep. Adam Smith to re-introduce Airplane Impacted Communities bill.

2017 Earth Day Blue Sky Trails: Video / Data / Photos
Cleveland HS Noise Study

COMMUNITY ACTION PLAN

In 2017, ECDLR and EPA reached out to 467 community members and held 24 meetings in 6 languages (Chinese, English, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese). We shared information about the Beacon Hill air and noise pollution and health impacts. We asked our community what can we do about it. The result is the Beacon Hill Air and Noise Pollution Health Impacts Community Action Plan (CAP) that guides our work today. See our 2017-2018 El Centro EPA Project Report.

1. Educate & Empower Community

We produced the “How to Protect Yourself from Air & Noise Pollution” handout in Chinese, English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese” for your use and share the information at various community events.

2. Build Capacity To Do The Work

Our work is empowered mostly by volunteers and some grants. We have EJ allies from all sectors ranging from grassroots organizations to local health organizations to universities. People power is our best engine.

We also succeeded in getting grants from EPA (2017-2018 Problem Solving Collaboration grant), Group Health Foundation Grant (2018), and City of Seattle (2019 and 2020). We also advocated for the funding of the 2019 UW Quantitative Air & Noise Study.

3. Measure Air & Noise Pollution

In 2018, El Centro and EPA gave 3 Community Empowerment Grants to Beacon Hill community scientist efforts. The results are documented in the 2018 Air & Noise Pollution Health Impacts Project Accomplishments Report. See pages: 14 to 15 for Beacon Arts Blue Sky Trails project; Cleveland HS Noise Study pages 16-38 for Cleveland HS Environmental Club project with analysis by WWU Huxley Institute Dr. Troy Abel; and pages 39-61 for Beacon Hill Noise Measurement Project report and analysis which had been updated. The results of the UW Quantitative Air & Noise Study will be shared on 2-29-20 at Centilia Cultural Center.

4. Purpose Mitigation Funding

We have 3 policy approaches to become mitigation eligible:

1. Organize help pass Washington HB1847 this year.

2. Continue working with US Congressman Adam Smith to reintroduce Airplane Impacted Communities Bill.

3. Work with the Port of Seattle access equitably noise abatement and mitigation programs. Come join us in these efforts.

5. Change Air Routes, “Give Beacon Hill Noise Relief

This is a tough one. We will keep it in mind as we start with getting mitigation status for Beacon Hill and keeping things from getting worse.

6. Plant More Trees

It is as important to protect our current trees in addition to planting new ones because trees are strong air filters and they store carbon. We are partnering with Beacon Hill Council to:

1. Help pass a stronger City of Seattle Tree Ordinance drafted by the Urban Forestry Commission.

2. Inventory and photograph our exceptional trees in Beacon Hill with Plant Amnesty.

7. Promote Alternative Transportation

Kudos to King County for committing to converting all busses to electric. We are working with Beacon Hill Council to get more charging stations throughout our neighborhood for electric cars and supporting Beacon Hill Safe Streets identify improvements and amenities to the Beacon Hill median from Columbia to the end of Beacon Hill for safer and greater use by walkers, bicyclists and wheelchair users.

8. Reduce Noise Levels from Other Sources