Legislators Pass Bill Anyway... But Group Still Fighting
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association reports it has called
attention to a flaw in a California bill to the attention of state
legislators. The bill would require the monitoring of taxi and idle
operations for all aircraft at Santa Monica Municipal Airport in
order to understand the air pollution impacts from idling jets on
the surrounding community.
Important information, certainly... except that the study has
already been done, and there are no negative health impacts.
In October 2005, the Los Angeles County Department of Health
Services' Toxics Epidemiology Program released a health assessment
of the communities around Santa Monica Airport. There is no
"evidence of elevated rates of mortality related to impaired lung
function or heart disease... elevated rate of low-birth-weight
births...[or] statistically elevated rates for any type of reported
Last week, AOPA testified against Assembly Bill 2501 during a
hearing before the Assembly National Resources Committee, and
pointed that study out to legislators.
Despite AOPA's efforts, however, the bill passed -- and is now
with the Assembly Appropriations Committee. That led the
organization to go on record once again, to demonstrate the serious
consequences the bill could have on GA.
"This bill would set a bad precedent for potential new
restrictions on... hundreds of small GA airports," said Owen
Sweeney, AOPA manager of state and local government affairs. "Very
few GA airports have the personnel resources to meet the extensive
and burdensome monitoring requirements of this bill, and many of
these airports are not even attended around the clock."
Sweeney added that AOPA takes issue not only with the redundancy
of the proposed study, but also with the staffing and cost burden
it would place directly on airports and pilots.
You see, while the bill requires SMO to monitor environmental
and health impact factors AOPA says do not exist... it does not
provide state funding for the cost that would be required to hire
staff to monitor all aircraft operations at the airport.