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Tue, May 09, 2006

AOPA Says No New Air Studies Needed At Santa Monica Airport

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 birth defect."

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.



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