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Group questions flight path impacts over Beacon Hill

An environmental watchdog group is calling attention to what it believes are noise and health concerns in the skies above Beacon Hill. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE – An environmental watchdog group is calling attention to what it believes are noise and health concerns in the skies above Beacon Hill. Airplanes are landing at Sea-Tac using a different approach that saves fuel for the airlines but environmental activists say at what cost to the community.

This past month, members of Environmental Justice Beacon Hill Seattle have been hosting community meetings in the neighborhood. They believe Beacon Hill is seeing more noise and air pollution under the "Greener Skies" landing changes.

Implemented in 2013, Greener Skies uses satellite technology so jets make a continuous descent at low power instead of the stair-step approach used before. However, on a typical cloudy day, three out of four arriving planes go right over Beacon Hill.

Activists with Environmental Justice are worried about increased asthma rates and respiratory issues in the neighborhood.

A Sea-Tac spokesperson said there's no scientific link between jet exhaust and respiratory issues. However, the airport supports additional research and has contributed money to those efforts.


Sea-Tac also said that Greener Skies has not changed the path of the final approach and planes are not lower to the ground.

Environmental Justice advocates say they just want residents to be informed.

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