Sat, Jun 13, 2009
Judges Say Study Was Flawed, But Accurate
Connecticut State Attorney General
Richard Blumenthal will seek a re-hearing by the full U.S. Court of
Appeals after a three-judge panel ruled the FAA essentially got it
right when it proposed changing flight paths over Fairfield County,
Connecticut. The case was first brought to the courts in 2007. In
that suit, Stamford and other Fairfield County towns claimed the
FAA disregarded environmental effects and increased noise over
Fairfield County in redrawing the flight paths.
The FAA re-drew the corridors after a study forecasting future
air traffic in the region. The Connecticut Post reports that the
three judge panel wrote in its decision "The FAA concluded the
forecast, although not perfect, still captured the general flow and
magnitude of the traffic in a way that can show differences among
the proposed alternatives." FAA spokesman Jim Peters said the
decision "speaks for itself."
But town officials are not giving up without a further fight.
Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy told the paper "We do not believe the
FAA acted appropriately under their own rules and regulations with
regard to hearings and considering the impact on residents, but
ultimately that's a decision for the courts to make." And Weston
First Selectman Woody Bliss believes the FAA violated its own rules
in re-drawing the corridors. "It's actually pretty scary because
the FAA did not comply with the law, and it seems the court went
out of its way to ignore it and approve the plans," he said.
If Blumenthal does not get an answer he agrees with from the
full US Court of Appeals, he says he'll petition the U.S. Supreme
Court to hear the case. He says its important to pursue it because
the FAA did not consider all the alternatives when it drew up the
plan. "This court decision would leave the FAA unchecked and
unaccountable for its failures to consider less damaging
alternatives," Blumenthal said.
But he admits getting a Supreme Court hearing is a long shot.
"The odds are always against a challenge to a federal agency
administrative decision, and certainly more so when review is
sought before the U.S. Supreme Court."
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