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Assembly Committee Backs City in Battle with FAA

By Lookout Staff

June 24 -- A resolution urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to respect Santa Monica’s ban on large jets flew through an Assembly Committee Monday.

Sponsored by Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the resolution approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee also encourages the FAA to review flight operations at the 62-year-old municipal airport.

The resolution comes two months after a Federal Judge blocked Santa Monica’s ban on high-speed jets, granting the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) request for a temporary restraining order. The City is challenging the decision in an appellate court in what promises to be a lengthy legal battle.

“Once again, the Federal Aviation Administration has shown us where its loyalties are,” said Lieu, who respresents neighboring Venice residents.

“It is obvious that their main concern is not the safety and protection of the American people, but to cater to the demands of the wealthy elite, whether they are airline companies or those who can afford large private jets.”

In ordering the City to suspend the ordinance approved by the council in April, the FAA argued that the measure -- --which bans jets with approach speeds of between 139 and 191 mph -- is unnecessary and would harm jet operators.

The City has called the federal government’s challenge a “legal assault” on an ordinance responding to increasing concerns that soaring jet traffic -- from 4,829 jet operations in 1994 to 18,575 last year -- is putting neighboring homes, as well as pilots, in danger.

The City Attorney's office earlier this month bolstered its motion asking an appellate court to allow the City to enforce the ordinance by filing a brief. The brief argues that the City is likely to prevail on the merits of the case against the FAA's determination that the ordinance is illegal because the City is merely trying to implement federal runway standards.

“I would also like to commend the Santa Monica City Council for standing on principle and placing the safety of its citizens above the profit-driven values of the FAA,” Lieu said.

“It is comforting to know that local leaders are willing to take on the FAA’s misguided policies and regulations,” Lieu said.

The resolution, supported by Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, will be heard on the Assembly floor in the coming weeks.


“Once again, the Federal Aviation Administration has shown us where its loyalties are.” Ted Lieu




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