Monday, April 15, 2013

Let there be light

Nearly a year ago on May 08, 2012 aci consulting’s Lauren Dill submitted a revision to the January 2012 EID (Environmental Information Document) concerning light emissions. The attachment to this email is titled EID REVISIONS-light Impacts.doc.

But this document is nowhere to be found in the FOIA documents we received. In its place there is a page with bold letters stating DOCUMENT WITHHELD UNDER EXEMPTION 5.

However the Corps did include an FAA document - Chapter 16. Light Emissions and Visual Effects - from the Airports Desk Reference section on Light Emissions. This seems to be a part of the redacted document as it was not listed as a separate attachment in the email header. The significance of this inclusion is the yellow highlighting of section 2. Applicable Statutes and Implementing Regulations on the first page of the document which states:

“There are no Federal statutory or regulatory requirements for adverse effects. State, regional, or local requirements may apply to airport-related light emissions or visual effects.”

“No Federal regulations govern light emissions or visual intrusions. However, FAA will consider potential effects to properties, and people‚Äôs use of properties, covered by Section 4(f) of the U.S.Department of Transportation (DOT) Act, Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (and 14 of this Desk Reference,LWCF), and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). See Chapters 7 respectively, for more information.”

In other words . . . let there be light and let night become day in rural Bastrop County.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Size matters

When T. R. Reid confirmed in the October 31, 2010 Austin American Statesman article Airport faces headwinds that larger aircraft such as 737s would not be barred from the airport, those of us opposing the CTA project felt vindicated as we had been predicting for some time that would be the case.

On the other side of the equation, county employees and elected officials generally expressed surprise and denial. We had been told again and again they believed the airport would only be used for smaller aircraft. But a recent discovery indicates that T. R. Reid’s ‘revelation’ should not have come as a surprise to those who masterminded the 381 Agreement with the CTA.

The Perryman Group’s May 2009 PR snow job titled The Sky’s the Limit leaves no doubt that large jets would be using the proposed CTA. In fact, accommodating those aircraft was presented as a major selling point. On page 15, a bullet point under the section Lack of similar facilities states:

The 7,500 foot runway would allow for the landing of any type of jet if needed, a service not offered at other general aviation airports nearby. The longer runway planned for CTA can also accommodate the requirements of larger corporate aircrafts.

It is interesting to note that sections of the scanned document that we received from an ORR to the County appear to have been highlighted. The bullet point quoted above was one of the highlighted passages.

So there is no doubt that the County was on notice about the aircraft that would be using the airport even before the first draft of the 381 Agreement was submitted on September 1, 2009. Hopefully, that will put the we-didn’t-know myth to rest once and for all. You’ve been busted so let’s move on.

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