Santa Monica Municipal, one of California's preeminent general aviation airports, is the target of a measure (Assembly Bill 2501) that would impose crippling aircraft operations monitoring - the taxi and idle times of all aircraft operating at the airport, day or night, would have to be monitored.
But the bill also could set a precedent threatening all California publicly owned, public-use airports. That's why AOPA has called on its nearly 40,000 California members to defeat this move.
"We only call our members to action on rare occasions when it is critical to have the voices of thousands of individuals, and this is one of them," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, who was just in California last week discussing GA issues at AOPA Pilot Town Meetings. "This bill is a back-door attempt to restrict GA aircraft operations, and it is pending final approval by the California Assembly. If pilots allow AB 2501 to pass, what airport would be next?"
AOPA urged California members to contact their state assembly members immediately and tell them to oppose AB 2501.
"The state should not endorse this attempt to restrict operations at an airport, which is key to accessing Southern California," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Imposing the requirements by state law sets a bad precedent for potential new restrictions on airports other than Santa Monica."
The bill would not provide funding to pay for the additional personnel required to monitor these operations 24 hours a day. This would force the airport to use important, limited financial resources for data collection and recording instead of safety and operational purposes.
Aside from the cost burden this would impose, the study itself is redundant and not needed. In October 2005, the Los Angeles Toxics Epidemiology program released a health assessment of the communities around Santa Monica Municipal, concluding that 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."
Also, seven health and air quality studies involving Santa Monica Airport have been or are currently being conducted.
"We believe these continuous studies are part of a larger effort to restrict aviation activities at Santa Monica," Cebula said. "That is why it is imperative that California members send a clear message: 'Don't mess with our airports.'"
May 30, 2006