Citizens Against Airport Pollution P.O. Box
26142, San Jose, CA 95159 (408)297-753 - May 1997
Limited public input
Public testimony, which was limited to about 3-1/2 hours, allowed organizational representatives 5 minutes each, while individuals were limited to two. Hearings were then ``closed'' to the public, and 7-1/2 hours of staff/consultant input ensued, followed by commissioners' inquiries, recommendations, and soul searching. CAAP representatives stayed each evening from 7 p.m. to about 12:30 a.m.
Public opposition was broad-ranged, pointing out inadequacies and inaccuracies in the EIR document, with emphasis on personal experiences with excessive amounts of noise--both single and accumulative events.
Grave concerns were expressed about increasing air pollution, freeway and entry-access gridlock, the fuel farm locations, lack of planned alternative transportation to the car, the need for people movers, and the difficulties of teaching children whose schools lie under flight patterns.
Airport staff positions
After the public hearing was closed, there were no opportunities to rebut or reply to the inaccuracies which developed as airport staff briefed the commissioners.
Also, SJIA Airport Director Ralph Tonseth submitted a last-minute memo to the commissioners prior to the second session, which was unavailable to the public.
The commissioners spent an inordinate amount of time on home soundproofing within and outside the 65 CNEL--failing to acknowledge that Californians spend must time outside, not inside, their homes. Details concerning measurements of inside and outside noise, whether 60 CNEL was an appropriate soundproofing boundary, and the expected time frames for work completion were exhaustively examined.
Questions about absent data (particulates), rising criteria air pollutant levels, toxic air emissions, resolving traffic gridlock, curfew enforceability, etc. were not asked or were poorly addressed.
Although Commissioner Linda LeZotte felt the EIR mitigations were ``minimal,'' the EIR was certified as acceptable by a 6-1 vote, with Gloria Chung Hoo being the only commissioner to dissent.
The results of voting on each of the project alternatives went as follows:
Some people feel that this is a victory: that Project Case (the massive buildout) is ``dead,'' and that negotiations on Alternatives A and B are now in order.
CAAP still believes that until and unless problems relating to traffic
Kenneth Hayes, M.D.
CAAP Board Member
The City enforces the existing Airport Noise Control Program adopted by City Resolution No. 57211.
The Airport Noise Control Program was adapted by the City of San Jose to mitigate noise pollution. It is a basic underlying assumption of the EIR. Without it's continued existence, air pollution, noise impacts and the 65 CNEL contour would dramatically worsen.
The City of San Jose has not enforced the Noise Control Program. Violations of the program are continuing and numerous. No court has ever adjudicated the legality and enforceability of the Noise Control Program. Perhaps more importantly, no Federal or State Court of Appeal has ever considered the validity and enforceability of the Noise Control Program. Lax record keeping, mismanagement, and ineffective enforcement, have combined to erode citizen confidence.
Because of recent Federal legislation, the City of San Jose can no longer amend, modify, or recreate the Noise Control Program. Good planning dictates that, prior to implementation of the Airport Master Plan, a review period be established to demonstrate the city's ability to strictly enforce the Noise Control Program.
SJC will become quieter due to the elimination of Stage 2 aircraft and by other fleet mix changes.
The projected noise impacts described in the EIR are predicated on two basic assumptions. A critical assumption is that all Stage Two commercial aircraft will be eliminated at SJC by the year 2000. This assumption is based upon Federal legislation which mandates that Stage Two aircraft be eliminated from domestic service by the year 2000 or 2003. However, this deadline may be legislatively modified. A review of the history of the phase out of Stage One aircraft to Stage Two aircraft suggests that the anticipated transition may not proceed in a timely manner.
Nationally, the percentage of Stage Two operations is still very large. In fact, as of March, 1996, Delta, Continental, Northwest and TWA had an average Stage Three fleet of only 56%. It is difficult to imagine how all these aircraft will be replaced with Stage Three aircraft in the next three years.
In reality, noise pollution at SJC affects thousands of citizens outside the 65 CNEL noise boundary. Moreover, it is the number of noise events (i.e. the frequency of departures and landings) that will make our future noisier. Project Case proposes to increase major airline, commuter and all cargo operations by more than 100%. This huge increase and the frequency of noise events can only make our neighborhoods noisier.
CAAP supporters are opposed to all future airport development.
CAAP believes that San Jose deserves a first class, modern and convenient airport. We only oppose airport pollution and have recommended to the city, over a period of years, numerous strategies to reduce pollution at the source.
Early in the Master Planning process, CAAP proposed ``Alternative Eight'' which involved the accomplishment of various environmental benchmarks or triggers before future capacity enhancements would be built. This strategy encouraged the accelerated phase out of Stage Two jets and the utilization of quieter and cleaner Stage Three aircraft. It did not dictate the size of the airport.
Presently, CAAP recommends the following strategies to reduce air pollution impacts, noise pollution and increased surface traffic congestion.
Minimize aircraft engine use while idling and taxiing.
Investigate differential landing fees in order to encourage airlines to use their least polluting (air pollution) aircraft at SJC.
Schedule the construction of future capacity enhancing improvements at the airport following a review period wherein the Airport Noise Control Program is enforced and tested legally.
Discourage the use of auxiliary power units by providing airport-provided power and air.
Convert all airport vehicle fleets and ground surface equipment to alternative fuels.
Schedule the construction of runway extensions and terminal improvements immediately after SJC becomes free of Stage Two commercial aircraft operations.
Utilize differential Lease fees to rental car companies that have a predetermined percentage of their rental fleet with alternative fuel vehicles and/or vehicles with low emissions.
Encourage mass transit by establishing a funding source (i.e. P.F.C. revenue) to help fund mass transit connections on and of the airport property.
Select a moderate growth Master Plan Alternative which limits air pollution, noise pollution and increased surface traffic congestion while at the same time providing an acceptable level of air transportation service to the South Bay.
The trial period is designed to allow for growth after giving assurance to the community about the reasonableness of assumptions and forecasts contained in the Airport Master Plan.
It requires that the city demonstrate its ability to enforce the Noise Control Program and implement other noise and air-pollution remedies. It also provides for additional environmental mitigations. Upon completion of a successful trial period, this plan allows for growth, with environmental benchmarks, to meet demand until the year 2010.
Implementation plan prerequisites
No new improvements to taxiways, runways, or new construction until:
Society President Noel Tebo spoke at the recent Planning Commission hearing about expansion plans as they affect air pollution and traffic gridlock.
More recently, he attended a CAAP steering committee meeting, at which time he expressed strong support for our positions.
He promised that his members would be well-informed about the June 3 City Council review of the airport matter.
Welcome aboard, MTS!
Kenneth Hayes, M.D.
CAAP Board Member
Council Chambers are on the