The State Assembly approved a resolution by Assemblyman Ted Lieu — AJR 37 — Monday, July 14th, that would urge the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to honor Santa Monica’s decision to ban large jets from landing at Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

“I firmly believe the safety and pollution risks at Santa Monica Airport are unacceptable,” said Lieu, whose district extends from south of Santa Monica to Torrance. “The FAA, by continuing to place industry profits above the health, welfare and safety of human beings, does a great disservice to all of us when it repeatedly opposes making the airport safer and less polluted.”

With both ends of the airport’s runways less than 300 feet from densely populated residential communities, Santa Monica Airport is said to be the most residentially encroached airport in the entire nation. Jet traffic at the municipal airport has reportedly increased over 1,500 percent since 1983, from approximately 1,000 to over 18,000 total operations, making it the busiest single-runway airport in the nation.

On March 25th, the Santa Monica City Council passed an ordinance that would ban the larger class C and D jets from the airport in an effort to ensure public safety and protect local residents. The ban was set to begin in late April, but the city was served with a cease-and-desist order resulting from an FAA lawsuit.

In an earlier interview with The Argonaut, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said, “As we have stated before, the city has no right to ban certain aircraft from their airport. They have entered into a number of agreements in which they have promised to maintain access to the airport.”

Lieu said, “I applaud the Santa Monica City Council for standing on principle and placing the safety and welfare of residents above the profit-driven values of the FAA. It is comforting to know that local leaders are willing to take on the FAA’s extremely misguided policies and regulations.”

The Assembly resolution is expected to be heard in the State Senate in the coming weeks.

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