General aviation advocates are trying to ward off a push by lawmakers to restrict access to or close California's Santa Monica Airport (SMO). Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.) arranged a July 8 meeting with FAA associate administrator for airports Eduardo Angeles to discuss SMO’s future.
In March the lawmakers endorsed the city’s seven-point plan, which included a ban on all fuel sales, moving to month-to-month leases and other measures that would effectively shut down the airport. “Based on the ongoing pollution and lead concerns, as well as recent airplane crashes, we have concluded that the current operations at the airport present a danger to the health and safety of surrounding residents,” the lawmakers told city officials in a letter.
Airport proponents and opponents are expected to attend the meeting. Santa Monica mayor Kevin McKeown expressed disappointment that the FAA will be only in “listening mode,” saying, “Given the gravity of the situation, the FAA’s merely listening is less than satisfactory.”
The Santa Monica Airport Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association and other airport backers are urging its members to contact the lawmakers expressing support for the airport. This comes as airport opponents are engaged in their own letter-writing campaign, with a goal of having 1,000 letters sent to Reps. Lieu and Bass supporting its closure, EAA said.