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Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2010 at 12:20 PM
WEST LOS ANGELES, April 20, 2010 – Residents of West Los Angeles neighborhoods impacted by the increase in corporate jet traffic at the Santa Monica airport held a press conference and marched to the airport this Sunday. The 70 year old Santa Monica airport which was once a relatively quite airport for small single engine private planes has become the nation’s busiest small airport for large corporate jets in within a densely populated residential area.
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|Long time West LA residents just East of the airport have watched the quality of their environment deteriorate to the point where toxic jet fumes are becoming life threatening for some. Many of the home owners in the neighborhoods near the airport and under the flight path are retired and living on a fixed income so moving is not an option. Younger residents many who are recent first time home buyers with small children were not informed of the noise and toxic air generated by airport operation when they bought their homes. The problem is particularly acute for those living within a half mile East of the airport. A recent study by the UCLA Institute for the Environment shows ultra fine toxic particles in the air are 10 times higher than normal LA conditions in the residential neighborhoods around the airport.
||Runway extensions and special permits for increased jet size has pushed the normal buffer zone considered safe by FAA standards beyond what is usually allowed. Residents want to know why the FAA is not even following its own rules for public safety. The City of Santa Monica, which owns and operates the airport, is currently battling the FAA in federal court to over the issue of who has the authority to regulate air traffic. At stake is if the FAA regional air traffic master plan can override the health and safety of local neighborhoods.
Community members differ in their views on what they would like to see the airport do. Some are demanding the airport be shutdown completely and restored to open space or a regional park. But most residents of the community seem willing to live near a small local airport as it once was, they just want the corporate jet traffic banned and rerouted to nearby LAX where FAA compliant conditions exist.
|The local community is not without political support from local elected officials. Speaking in support Sunday was State Assembly Representative Ted Lieu and two LA City councilmen; Bill Rosendahl and Paul Koretz. Lisa Green of the Westside LA Green Party spoke as well.
Community organizers have launched a web site for those who want to help, See the link at JetAirPollution.com
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