The Mar Vista Community Council has joined in support of a proposed State Assembly bill that would require the Santa Monica Airport to monitor and record the taxi and idle times of jet operations for one year as well as make the data available to the public.
Mar Vista Community Council members voted unanimously Tuesday, May 9th, to support a resolution in favor of State Assembly Bill 2501, authored by Assemblyman Ted Lieu, that would gather data to address air pollution problems near Santa Monica Airport.
In supporting the proposed bill, the Mar Vista Community Council joins some key local government officials, including 11th District City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Congresswoman Jane Harman, as well as residents living in the area of the airport.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted to support the bill Wednesday, May 10th.
While some Mar Vista Community Council members felt the resolution should have first gone through the council’s committee phase, the council chose to support the bill because it will help address a “serious problem in the neighborhood,” council chair Tom Ponton said.
“We’re hoping that this will give Lieu a little more ammunition,” Ponton said of the Mar Vista Community Council support.
The pollution and noise from jets “warming up” and idling at the end of the Santa Monica Airport runway has become a “growing problem” for the community, Ponton said.
“The amount of jets and the time they’re waiting to take off has been causing much more noise and pollution to come to the neighborhood,” he said.
Annual jet operations at Santa Monica Airport have increased from about 1,000 to more than 18,000 in recent years.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires aircraft at Santa Monica Airport to wait for permission from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) before taking off.
This requirement has created departure delays at Santa Monica Airport, making jets idle for longer periods with their engines running while waiting for LAX permission to take off, Lieu has said.
“My neighborhood and home are invaded by fumes and pollution on a daily basis and black soot covers our neighborhood,” said resident Susan Folett, who lives close to the airport. “I’m in favor of anything that will reduce the idling time.”
Council member Ken Marsh, who presented the council resolution along with Martin Rubin, director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, said Santa Monica Airport “was never intended for jets.”
The community needs to work on creating a concrete form of expression about its concerns about Santa Monica Airport operations, but the proposed State Assembly bill will “create a database for a study,” Marsh said.
“(Lieu) is doing a responsible thing by saying we need to collect data,” Marsh said.
Rubin, who authored the Mar Vista Community Council resolution in support of the bill, agreed, saying the bill “is the first step” in trying to understand where the pollution is coming from.
Rubin said he was pleased that the Mar Vista Community Council unanimously supported his proposal in favor of the Assembly bill.
“I feel that it sends a strong statement of how the Mar Vista area is affected by Santa Monica Airport operations,” Rubin said.
If approved, Assembly Bill 2501 will provide the data to illustrate a “more accurate picture” of how long aircraft are idling and taxiing on the runways, and provide the needed information for further studies on how specific jet operations are affecting nearby residences, Lieu said.
Rubin said the bill would also allow for modeling studies to help determine the extent of impacts on the surrounding communities.
Mar Vista Community Council members said they plan to track and monitor the progress of the bill as it moves through the legislative process.