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Full throttle: AOPA fights California airport threat

Collecting the taxi and idle times of all general aviation aircraft for one year at Santa Monica Municipal may sound harmless. But that information could be used to restrict operations at airports throughout California under legislation being considered by the state legislature.

That's why AOPA is calling on pilots and Airport Support Network volunteers in the state to help defeat Assembly Bill 700, currently before the state Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

The bill is scheduled for hearing on July 2, and AOPA is working to educate senators on the committee in advance.

AOPA Manager of Regional Affairs Joey Colleran and AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer are meeting with senate offices this week and are proposing alternatives to the bill. The association also submitted formal comments on the bill last week, and Pfeiffer plans to testify at the hearing.

"Although this threat specifically names Santa Monica Municipal, it could eventually affect airports throughout the state," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "Last year's version of the bill originally included airports in the southern district. AOPA rallied pilots last year to help defeat the final version, and we need that same support again this year.

"But it goes to show the precedent this bill could set."

The taxi and idle times would be part of an environmental study, but AOPA has pointed out that seven studies have already been done on the airport.

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