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Voices on aviation justice

Debi Wagner on aviation justice

Debi Wagner is a Seattle airport neighbor, and a community activist who worked against the expansion of SEA-TAC airport. She’s the author of Over My Head, a memoir of 17 years doing airport environmental justice work.

“Aviation Justice means to me just what the word justice implies. There are certain people singled out for abuse. They are people unfortunate enough to be living near any of the nation’s airports. These people don’t have the same lives as others. Their quality of living is compromised, their enjoyment and use of their property limited, their health may be at risk from fumes and soot and their children aren’t able to learn in the local schools as other children can due to noise from jets. These people have been asking for and seeking justice for decades. Their cries for help, compensation, remediation and recognition have gone completely unheeded. I have never been able to understand why the terrible onslaught of ill effects on people, environment and property by a money making industry can be ignored as this is.”

“The airport and airport-related activities are potentially major sources of air pollution and environmental justice requires that one group of people not benefit at the cost of environmental degradation affecting the quality of life of another group.”
—from the Washington State Department of Public Health,
“Addressing Community Health Concerns Around Sea-Tac Airport”, March 2000


3 thoughts on “Debi Wagner on aviation justice

  1. Thank you, Ms. Wagner for all your work in documenting the unequal and devastating burdens of the aviation industry on our communities.

    I would like to propose we all unite under a common cause such as “Communities for Green Aviation”. I am hopeful that the “Aviation Justice” townhall in October will result in the formulation of a progressive and proactive environmental and social justice agenda behind which all affected communties and correspondingly, our elected representatives can mobilize, organize and act!

    Posted by Patty Fong | July 20, 2011, 2:25 pm
  2. I ask all concerned sufferers of aviation arrogance to realize this issue in not airport noise, it is aviation noise. I live many miles from any major airport and experience hundreds and often thousands of aviation disturbances every day. Many are over 60 decibels in what used to be a quiet rural environment.

    I am trying to understand how to tackle this problem but find no one or no agency represents us on the ground. Aviation has a big bad government agency stonewalling any effort to understand the problem.

    Could those of you that are more knowledgeable then me please suggest how we might use our collective energies to mount a credible fight?

    At least speak to this problem as a national / international issue, not a neighborhood airport matter. This further divides our meager efforts.

    Thank you,

    Phillip Gilbert

    Posted by Phillip Noland Gilbert | October 12, 2011, 9:58 pm
    • I live in Seattle where Boeing is one of the major manufacturers of civilian and military aircraft and it is a major employer in this region. I have come to the conclusion that in spite of the civilian aspect of aviation, the military aspect will always trump and rule. I believe the FAA is equal in its power and arrogance to the US military. While I respect our men and women in the armed forces I believe forces beyond ordinary Americans’ control and influence now control the military agenda. To think we as ordinary citizens can influence aviation issues seems impossible to me. This is confirmed by the lies and obfuscations that are handed to us by the FAA and their lackey in Seattle, the Port of Seattle. Aviation = money = power. I will continue to hope there is a way but I think it will be very difficult to overcome this mindset in our militaristic culture. Our politicians and military are obsessed with the threat to their goals abroad and have sought to and succeeded in whittling away our civil rights. Why otherwise was John Stewart denied a visa by Homeland Security?

      Posted by Patty Fong | October 13, 2011, 2:36 pm
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