Sea-Tac 3rd Runway
Dependent ( so it doesn't even solve the capacity problem)
Wetlands & Water

This page was last
updated on: February
7, 2009

Summary Poem
Tricks of the EIS Trade
Example 1
Playing with Delay and Capacity Numbers to Underestimate Pollution
The Port of Seattle solved the world's pollution crisis - too bad it's just smoke and mirrors. The following is how SeaTac Third Runway Environmental Impact statement "proved" they would not only reduce delays but reduce pollution as well.

1) Use the National Plan for Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) curve to overestimate the delay time with the current airport. Also ignore any technology advances that would reduce this delay time.
2) Assume your existing configuration will operate over theoretical capacity (official aerospace definition that corresponds to a number of operations you get off the NPIAS curve). This will estimate the delays to be even longer than if you do item 1 with the severely congested number of operations (max delay market will tolerate).
3) Assume your new configuration will operate well under its practical capacity (another NPIAS curve related term). This may require IGNORING FAA Terminal Air Forecasts (TAF) and your airport authority/Port generating their own predictions that are lower than the FAAs. {Can't use realistic numbers because they would show you need even more runways or a new airport}
4) Assume absurdly fast landing-take-off cycle times for your new configuration
5) Assume absurdly long landing-takeoff cycle times for your existing configuration
6) Assume that with your existing configuration that more planes try to take off simultaneously at peak time than could ever hope to get off the ground thereby creating long delay times rather than spreading out into less popular times.
7) Ignore some of dependent air space issues with nearby airports that arise when you put more aircraft in the same air space

The above information can ALL be found in the Supplementary EIS for the SeaTac Master Plan Update. There were more clever tricks that were played like putting in an extra month of bad weather into the calculations (13 month year) to make the bad weather delays worse but they were probably unique to Seattle.  If your airport expansion project doesn't have an EIS, this type of info may be in reports but they may be hard to dig out.
Beware of executive summaries they may say the opposite of the data in the report or play semantic games (make multiple improvements at the airport and imply in the words that the reduced delay is due solely to ONE improvement such as a new runway or longer runway, when the reduced delay/added capacity is actually related to a number of airport improvements).

1) Bury absurd assumptions in computer models - Garbage In- Garbage Out
2) Combine projects in one EIS or report. Talk and write about the benefits of one aspect of the project as if it applies to the entire project even if the supporting documentation says otherwise.
3) Make the reports so long and poorly organized that people won't spot the semantic games of item 2 above.

For those that really want detailed ways to cook the books,  keep reading. More examples will be added as time permits.