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Threat to California airports thwarted, for now

Pilots at Santa Monica Municipal and throughout California can rest easier now that Assembly Bill 700 no longer requires the collection of taxi and idle times of general aviation aircraft. Instead, a task force will be formed to come up with solutions that meet the needs of the airport and surrounding community.

"This task force idea really works," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "We've been a part of a similar working group at Teterboro Airport just outside New York City that has been able to come up with guidelines to balance everyone's needs. This is a model that can be used at other California airports instead of creating legislation to restrict or close the facilities."

The bill was amended Monday in the state Senate Environmental Quality Committee, thanks to help from Santa Monica Sen. Sheila Kuehl. The task force is supposed to comprise state and local government officials, community members, and airport users. The group would study the outcome of a current air quality study that will be completed this fall and then develop some workable solutions.

Many AOPA members had contacted their senators to oppose the collection of taxi and idle times, and Airport Support Network volunteers rallied behind AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer and AOPA Manager of Regional Affairs Joey Colleran last week to educate members of the committee about Santa Monica. Pfeifer also testified at the committee hearing.

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