Pols Call FAA "Lawless" And "Arrogant" Agency
Several New York-area
politicians aren't taking too kindly to the Federal Aviation
Administration right now.
As ANN reported, the FAA
announced Wednesday it had issued a final decision for redesigning
the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia metropolitan area
airspace -- a move the agency asserts will reduce delays, fuel
consumption, aircraft emissions and noise.
The FAA says it did extensive analysis and held more than 120
public meetings in five states throughout the environmental
process. The airspace redesign involved a 31,000-square-mile area
over New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut
with a population of 29 million residents. Twenty-one airports were
included in the study.
"The federal government is not above the law,"
said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal at a
redesign protest rally on Aug. 29 attended by about 40 people and
hosted by the New Canaan Environmental Group, according to the New
Blumenthal called the agency a "lawless government" because it
did not make an environmental impact statement public, a move that
could interpreted as a violation of the law.
Michael G. Kroposki, a retired attorney, said the FAA can skirt
public disclosure because environmental concerns are determined by
the number of delays that cause aircraft to remain in the air thus
increasing pollution levels. He contends a study leading to
the redesign decision was a "blue-sky analysis," done on a day with
good weather. A day with good weather will have the least number of
aircraft stuck in the air for any length of time.
"With all due respect, the FAA is the most arrogant agency I've
dealt with," said Fourth District U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays. His
bill to block FAA redesign funding was defeated 65-360 in the
House. The FAA has declined to meet with him, as well.
Shays has been an outspoken critic of the integrated airspace
proposal and has said publicly the chosen plan is "unreasonable"
because it fails to account for the plan's impact on the quality of
life of those below the proposed routes.
"The FAA's proposal to mitigate noise has made no attempt to
explore alternative routes over less populated areas, nor has it
set recommended restrictions on minimum altitude," he said.
Shays suggested an "FAA
watch group" be formed, a widespread group to gather consistent
data on airspace use and file appropriate complaints with the
"Our laws do not give us the tools to confront the FAA," Shays
said. "Quality of life matters."
New York's Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef agrees
on the environmental issue. He said Thursday his county is going to
file a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration over the
New York-New Jersey-Philadelphia region airspace redesign, as ANN reported.
Vanderhoef said the county believes the chosen plan, among other
things, violates the national Environmental Policy Act, according
to the Journal News.
"This particular agency is one that apparently is hell-bent on
doing what it needs to do to get this plan in order and therefore
is ignoring the law," Vanderhoef said. "We're going to hold them to
the law and that's what this litigation is about."
"A powerful legal coalition can defeat this misguided plan
because the FAA failed to consider the harmful effect of its
proposed new flight pattern on our environment and quality of life.
I have begun to assemble this coalition, combining state and local
authorities, to challenge the FAA's rerouting projects as legally
flawed and environmentally clueless," said Blumenthal in a
"One of our key points: the FAA has ignored its clear legal
obligation to consider feasible alternatives that would reduce air
traffic delays with far less damage to natural resources and
quality of life. Arrogantly and improperly, the FAA has disregarded
its duty to listen --refusing to hold sufficient hearings for views
and voices of citizens to be heard."
New Canaan Environmental Group President Richard Stowe wants to
petition as well as sue the FAA to get its point across.
"Petitions are good, but not enough ... we need to have a mass
write-in to demand a public hearing," he said.
Stowe also wants to bring Newark Liberty International Airport
into the fray and file a suit against it as well saying it should
be held accountable, too.
"If we sue Newark Airport, that puts them up against a wall," he