The FAA recently denied a request by the Port of Grays Harbor to release Bowerman Airport in Hoquiam, Washington, from restrictions in the Surplus Property Act. A release ultimately would have allowed the port to close the airport. The Surplus Property Act requires that any airports transferred from the federal government to local entities remain open and operating in perpetuity. Such is the case with Bowerman Airport: It had been a military-use airport that was transferred to Grays Harbor County for civilian use. The port also has accepted Airport Improvement Program funding, which comes with obligations to keep the airport open. Working with the Airport Support Network volunteer for Bowerman, Jim Criel, AOPA had alerted the FAA of the port's intentions and asked that this attempt to close the airport be denied. The FAA not only turned down the port's request, but also warned the town that the agency would take "whatever action we deem appropriate to prevent closure of an obligated airport."
December 1, 2006