OC Challenges FAA

oc-logo MICHELLE STEEL TODD SPITZER
VICE CHAIR, SECOND DISTRICT SUPERVISOR, THIRD DISTRICT
ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
ORANGE COUNTY HALL OF ADMINISTRATION
333 W. SANTA ANA BLVD., SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA 92701
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
CONTACT: Michelle Cook (Steel)
Phone: (714) 834-3220 Mobile: (714) 336-6164
Melanie Eustace (Spitzer)
Phone: (714) 834-5492 Mobile: (714) 581-7784

 

County Seeks to Challenge FAA’s Plan to Alter Flight Patterns
(Orange County, CA) – Orange County has filed a petition in federal court to sign-on with the City of Newport Beach in a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over plans for revised air traffic patterns in and out of John Wayne Airport (JWA).

The Board of Supervisors filed the petition in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on November 10th after voting to join Newport in the case during closed session on November 8th. The City of Laguna Beach also filed a similar but separate lawsuit against the FAA.

Both suits question the adequacy of the environmental impact review as part of the FAA’s Southern California Metroplex project, designed to upgrade aging ground-based air-traffic control procedures to a GPS-based system at 21 airports throughout the region including JWA. The federal agency claims its review shows there would be no significant environmental impact with the change in flight patterns.
Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Michelle Steel said the County shares the cities’ concerns that air-borne pollutants, noise and safety issues have not been properly studied. John Wayne Airport is located in Steel’s 2nd Supervisorial District, where residents are located immediately under the primary departure pattern.

“Our residents are the ones who live every day with aircraft operating overhead,” Vice Chair Steel said. “The Metroplex project must be clearly defined and the resulting impacts clearly described. Our residents deserve to know whether and how the FAA’s proposed changes may impact them now and into the future.”

“Residents have a right to weigh in on issues like flight patterns when they are the ones who live with the impacts to air quality, noise and safety,” said Third District Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who represents the portion of Orange County most impacted by arriving jets. “I have a long history fighting on behalf of Orange County residents to protect their quality of life as it relates to the airport and I’m not going to stop now.”

The FAA approved the Metroplex project in September after a 120-day public comment period that triggered a flurry of complaints and concerns from throughout Southern California. The cities have asked the federal court to temporarily halt the project and order the FAA to conduct a more comprehensive environmental analysis. The County has requested the Court’s permission to intervene as an additional party to the Newport Beach case and to file a separate petition for review to raise the issues brought forth in the County’s comment letter during the administrative process.
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