In an effort to show his support for the Santa Monica City Council’s attempts to regulate the type of aircraft that use its municipal airport, Assemblyman Ted Lieu has authored an Assembly resolution encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to review flight operations at the Santa Monica Airport, as well as respect the city’s decision to ban large jets from landing at the airport. Lieu’s 53rd Assembly District extends from south of Santa Monica to Torrance.

“Once again, the Federal Aviation Administration has shown us where its loyalties are,” Lieu said. “It is obvious that their main concern is not the safety and protection of the American people, but to cater to the demands of the wealthy elite, whether they are airline companies or those who can afford large private jets.”

Santa Monica and the federal agency are engaged in a legal dispute that centers on whether city and airport officials can effectively ban larger and faster airplanes from its airfield. The FAA filed a temporary restraining order in federal court to enjoin the city from implementing a recently adopted airport ordinance that would block these planes from using the airport.

A lower court sided with the government and prevented the city from enforcing the ordinance.

Santa Monica has taken the case to an appellate court.

“I would also like to commend the Santa Monica City Council for standing on principle and placing the safety of its citizens above the profit-driven values of the FAA,” Lieu stated. “It is comforting to know that local leaders are willing to take on the FAA’s misguided policies and regulations.”

Martin Rubin, who heads Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, applauded Lieu for his resolution.

“It encourages the FAA to honor the safety implementations of the ordinance,” said Rubin, whose grassroots Westside organization has lobbied all levels of government for air quality studies of the jet fumes that often permeated the surrounding neighborhoods of the airport. “It sends a clear message to the FAA that there are serious health and safety concerns at Santa Monica Airport and that local and state representatives should be asking the FAA to reevaluate all aspects of its airport operations in a transparent process that includes input from all stakeholders.”

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA, said that despite Lieu’s resolution, Santa Monica officials are not keeping with the spirit of agreements that are in place pertaining to what airplanes can use the municipal airfield.

“As we have stated before, the city has no right to ban certain aircraft from their airport,” said Gregor. “They have entered into a number of agreements in which they have promised to maintain access to the airport.”

Because the FAA is a federal agency, Lieu’s resolution will not affect any result that occurs regarding the current situation at the municipal airport.

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