Mirror Staff Writer
The California State Assembly has approved AB 2501, a bill that will require monitoring of idle and take-off times for all aircraft utilizing Santa Monica Airport due to concerns about air pollution.
The bill, authored and sponsored by Democratic Assembly member Ted W. Lieu from El Segundo, was approved by an Assembly vote of 42 to 34. It did not include the amendments proposed by Santa Monica’s City Council at their May 25 meeting, aimed to reduce the estimated administrative costs to the City of the monitoring ($400,000 to $500,000) to $35,000 by having the State fund the remaining costs. If the City’s costs are not reduced, the Council directed staff to draft an ordinance to oppose AB 2501 because the City opposes unfunded mandates.
Amorette Yang, Legislative Assistant to Lieu, told the Mirror it was “not feasible to work on the amendments in time” for the Assembly vote. Lieu is now “looking into how to address the City Council’s concerns when it goes to the State Senate for a vote.”
Yang also mentioned that the State disagrees with the City’s estimated cost of the monitoring. The Assembly’s appropriations committee is “projecting the monitoring would be less than $150,000, which is in the fiscal analysis of the bill.” Lieu is now in the process of “trying to amend the bill to reduce the $150,000 cost even further.”
The Council’s support of the bill agreed with airport neighbors in both Santa Monica and West Los Angeles that have been worried for years about emissions generated by aircraft. Friends of Sunset Park President Zina Josephs expressed her Board’s support of the bill by noting, “It has scientific value which will enhance ongoing studies of aircraft emissions and Santa Monica is a key location for gathering idle and taxi data because the runway ends closer to homes than any other airport in the state.”
Airport Commissioner Susan Hartley told the Council, “I am too frequently awash in fumes from the airport” when I go walking in Clover or Sunset Park.
Council members, at the request of Council member Ken Genser, also asked that City staff work with airport neighbors, State legislators and Los Angeles City Council member Bill Rosendahl on more long-term solutions and goals for airport issues.