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Yelm residents George and Karol Rabon pen letter to elected officials
(used with permission)
Dear Elected Official;
This is an appeal for your attention regarding the 2022 proposal for a new Thurston County commercial airport in our region.
We were taken aghast when a chance viewing on our local newscast exposed this. Hence, we are beyond concerned and are proactive to prevent this from occurring. This airport proposal made by WSDOT/CACC must never come to fruition here, known as the Thurston County Central Greenfield.
Twenty-two years ago, we found our proverbial “piece of the pie” outside of Yelm. The area offered what seemed to be the last vestige of affordable country life outside of the I-5 corridor, away from the glut of city and suburbia. Yet for two decades of commuting to our federal jobs, the work day traffic only became longer and more snarled. The Yelm area, as you are aware, only has two state routes connecting with Tacoma, Olympia, and Centralia. And in those years, the population has exploded from 3,000 to 10,000. Yet, despite inconvenience, the limited roadways are an acceptable price to pay to call this pristine locale home. As we understand, funding for infrastructure expansion of this nature is not a priority…and that is generally tolerable for most residents. There are more pressing issues for Yelm.
The Nisqually river, tributaries, and aquifers supply glacier melt to several regions in the South Sound. In Yelm proper, this water availability restricts indiscriminate development of certain businesses. It boggles the mind to imagine something as repugnant as a dual runway airfield consuming this precious water supply. How frightening to conceive of pollution from jet fuels contaminating farmland, their runoff seeping toxins into groundwater. And how disturbing to visualize the water consumption utilized in the construction of the site and needed highway connections from airport site to the freeway.
Rural Thurston County supplies agricultural products from both commercial and small enterprises. Groundwater contamination/runoff will yield a higher propensity for aquatic basin pollution, impacting negatively on our local fishing industries. Increase in air pollution from overhead and vehicle congestion will only paint more smudge on this would be filthy canvas. And how would this burden of pollution affect the quality and health of our produce, our grazing animals, our grasslands and our forests? Surely not just flora, fauna and citizens enjoy clean air, water, food and health. Even commissioners who would introduce such a proposal and move to enact it also enjoy these.
Another looming question emerges. What impact will this abysmal proposal have upon property owners in this county? We speculate, in a pending recession, how this unnecessary and unwanted project will be funded. With the approval of this airport, and after our property values plummet, could residents look forward to participating in the finance of this endeavor? We know this answer.
With the existence of established airfields already accessible by infrastructure, expansion for their improvement saves resources, both economical and ecological. With the eventual need for a new airport in Western Washington projected for 2050, these pre-existing sites would conserve time and finances while incrementally meeting developmental improvement goals. The silent assumption is that this projection will still even be applicable in the next thirty years. Speculation cannot account for yet undiscovered technological changes that could make the 2022 perspective obsolete. However, if groundbreaking should begin in Thurston county in approaching years, the destruction that would ensue would be a permanent wound. But this cicatrix on the fragile beauty and relevance of this region would also glaringly reveal the lack of creative implementation on the part of the commissioners. Apparently to them, the inclusion of ethics offers no monetary incentive.
Please consider these concerned residents’ objections to the WSDOT-CACC. Thurston County Central Greenfield proposal. We ask that you use your political acumen to influence those commissioners to not place their airport in our region. Not logical, not cost-effective, not ethical.
Thank you for your time.
George and Karol Rabon