Help lessen Santa Monica Airport's toxicity with this easy-to-do petition.
Santa Monica Airport (SMO) has been polluting the surrounding communities for many years. Noise pollution has been, and still is, the most obvious and the one that garners the largest number of community complaints. However, the not-so-obvious air pollution from SMO operations has received very little attention from the cty of Santa Monica, the owner and operator of the airport, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
When I say not-so-obvious, I mean to those who are not in the downwind path of the stinking odors of hazardous jet emissions. Since the arrival of the "1 percent" via private jet it is now menacingly noticeable.
What is not noticeable is the toxic fallout of the lead particles from piston aircraft's aviation gasoline (avgas); because there is no foul smell involved.
Since Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP) was founded in the summer of 2003, SMO air pollution concerns have moved from an under-the-rug issue to a front-burner issue, and until recent concerns regarding the dangers of lead in avgas surfaced, CRAAP's primary focus had been on jet emissions. The logic being that if we could ban all jet aircraft from using SMO due to the lack of a buffer between the jet blast and the residential neighborhood, a huge part of the noise impacts would leave the SMO area as well.
Oh yes, we would also have achieved and gone further than the City of Santa Monica's unsuccessful effort to ban category C & D aircraft. Understand that the pollution argument is scientifically documented and not speculative as were the arguments put forth by the City of Santa Monica to ban C & D aircraft. This is fodder for a future blog post, but let me now return to this blog's focus.
Are the toxic chemicals in jet emissions more harmful than piston aircraft's toxic rain of lead? The more encompassing question is, "what health impacts are airport neighbors exposed to from a combination of both?" Throw noise into the equation and you are subjecting airport neighbors to all kinds of... (This is why there are two "A"s in CRAAP; because there is so much of it!).
Let's focus on the issue of lead in avgas and how you can help by adding your name to a simple online petition.
It is inspiring to learn how the petition evolved and how one individual's contribution can be significant. The individual I am referring to is Natalie McAdams, a resident of Los Angeles's North Westdale, and who lives very close to the east end of SMO's runway.
In the summer of 2011 Natalie signed up to be on CRAAP's contact list, citing concerns about air pollution, health, large jets, plane crashes and noise pollution. She and her husband Charles attended meetings of the Santa Monica City Council and the Santa Monica Airport Commission to express their concerns for themselves, their children, and their neighbors. They offered to have the North Westdale Neighborhood Association's Airport Committee meetings at their home, and Natalie took on the position of vice-chair of that committee.
Natalie spoke to me about waging a petition campaign, and thought that it would make sense to garner upport for the efforts that Friends of the Earth and EARTHJUSTICE were doing to ban the use of lead in aviation gas. She spoke about how the website "change.org" has a very useful and effective online method of petitioning, in which every signature on the petition sends out a notice to whom the petition is addressed. I thought that was a great idea and asked her to look into it and run a draft by me for review.
She and I drafted the petition and she launched it on Feb. 8. The petition was addressed to the USEPA's Director Lisa Jackson and Director of Transportation and Air Quality, Margo Oge.
There are already more than 200 signatures.
I am very impressed with Natalie's contribution to address these critical concerns. And after more than fifteen years of involvement, I am not easily impressed. The point is that there is so much we as individuals can do if we just make an effort; even a small effort. It is incumbent upon us, the community, to look out for ourselves. Let's start by growing the numbers on this very sensible petition.