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News in Depth

CA Bill Directing So. Cal. Ass'n of Gov'ts (SCAG) To Provide "Fair Share Distribution Of Comm'l Aviation" Is Amended To Spread Burdens "Throughout the [Multi-County] SCAG Region"; We Post Amendment Text

Amended Bill Passes Senate Transportation Committee; Sen. Karnette Votes For The Bill; Enviro Groups Support It, O.C. Rep Opposes It

Directs SCAG To Adhere To Environmental Justice Principles To Assure Goal of SCAG Plan Is No Ethnic Or Racial Minority or Low Income Community Bears Disproportionate Share Of Environmental Burdens Of Regional Aviation Activity

We post amended bill text

(August 6, 2002) -- Proposed CA legislation -- first reported locally by months ago -- that could influence distribution of future regional aviation activity, today passed the Senate Transportation Committee with an amendment directing the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to provide for a "fair share distribution of the burdens of commercial aviation throughout the SCAG region."

SCAG's region includes Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial Counties.

LB area Senator Betty Karnette, a member of the Transportation Committee. voted for the bill, AB 2333 (authored by Torrance Assemblyman George Nakano). Orange County Senator Joe Dunn (and other OC interests) continue to oppose the bill, concerned it might steer airport traffic to OC.

The bill originally sought to have SCAG allocate aviation burdens and benefits on a County by County basis, but that text stalled in the Committee in June, prompting its amendment to specify the multi-County SCAG region as a whole as the basis for distributing aviation burdens.

The most potentially significant portion of the bill may be its inclusion of Environmental Justice as a component in transportation planning. This could arguably invite LB, and other urban Airport impacted areas, to assert their ethnic diversity (LB is one of American's most ethnically diverse cities) and population density (LB is densely populated, especially compared to surrounding areas) to protect residents from further detrimental airport impacts.

As indicated in AQMD's recent MATES-2 study (Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study), the LB area is already disproportionately impacted by air toxics and pollution with elevated cancer risks exceeding even refinery adjacent southbay areas.

As previously reported by, LB Airport Manager Chris Kunze indicated in an August 1 extemporaneous comment [possibly personal and not in the context of AB 2333] at an ELB community meeting on airport issues that it might not be helpful to use environmental justice in assessing LB Airport impacts compared to other urban airport areas.

A number of LB neighborhood activists have publicly urged including Environmental Justice as among LB Airport's impacts.

AB 2333 now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it is likely to be passed routinely to the Senate floor since it carries no direct fiscal impact.

The original version of the bill passed the CA Assembly with "yes" votes from LB area Assemblymembers Lowenthal, Oropeza and Havice.

We post the amended bill text, below.

[begin text]

   65081.2.  (a) The Southern California Association of Governments
(SCAG) shall provide for a fair share distribution of both
the burdens and benefits of commercial aviation
throughout the SCAG region. among the four
urbanized SCAG Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino,
and Riverside as a guiding policy in the aviation program of the
regional transportation plan that is adopted by the SCAG Regional
Council.  SCAG shall determine the "fair share distribution" appropriate for
each county based upon an assessment of future passenger and cargo
demand likely to be generated by and reasonably attributable to each
   (b) In addition, SCAG shall adhere to principles of environmental
justice in the development of the regional transportation plan
aviation program to provide that a goal of the aviation program of
the regional transportation plan is that no ethnic or racial minority
or low-income community bears a disproportionate share of the
environmental burden of regional aviation activity.  For purposes of
this section, environmental justice shall be construed to conform
with the provisions of the applicable state law.
   (c) SCAG shall annually review the master plans and airport layout
plans of each commercial airport or proposed airport for consistency
with the SCAG regional transportation plan.
   (d) In making a determination of consistency with the regional
transportation plan, SCAG shall include a determination whether
airports located within each county are making reasonable progress
towards the regional transportation plan's goals and are likely to
meet projected cargo and passenger demand in a timely manner.
  However, nothing herein shall create a separate and
independent cause of action relating to environmental justice.

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