Airport Commission Revisits Emissions Limits at SMO

 - May 6, 2014, 3:30 PM

The city of Santa Monica has embarked on a two-prong approach to step up its efforts to curtail flight operations at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) in Southern California. This latest effort from the city’s airport commission on Wednesday addressed legal issues surrounding a proposed recommendation to limit emissions from aircraft operating at SMO.

The idea of using emissions to limit aircraft activity at SMO is not new; the tactic was examined in a 2006 UCLA School of Law Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic study commissioned by former Los Angeles city council member Bill Rosendahl. According to that study, “The city would undoubtedly take on legal risk by taking such action, as all the issues are novel and the city cannot insulate itself from possible claims that it is overstepping its legal authority. Nonetheless, we believe that the analysis below demonstrates that the city has significant arguments supporting its authority to address the airport’s impacts on public health.”

“We believe attempts to discriminate against operators at the airport would clearly violate federal provisions, as has been determined and upheld by the courts previously,” NBAA told AIN. “Santa Monica, like all other obligated airports, must operate the airport for the benefit of the public on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination.”

Santa Monica is also appealing a February 13 decision by the U.S. District Court that halts the city’s effort to close the airport.