Molly Waller, environmental planner for consulting company Coffman Associates, headquartered near Kansas City, says environmentally, the town’s plans didn’t hold up. Having worked through the environmental assessment for the airport, Waller says the town’s plans would have impacted more wetlands, flood plain, and noise impacts — not to mention it involved a good deal of land acquisition.
“Through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, we actually eliminated that alternative as not being reasonable,” says Waller.
The NEPA process seems new to many airports, Waller says, because historically FAA conducted most of an environmental review of a project in-house. But not anymore. “A lot of airports just aren’t really aware of the fact that before they do something on their airport, they have to have some sort of environmental review done,” she says.
“But over the past six weeks I’ve put together six categorical exclusion letters for airports that kind of got hit at the last minute. Even if a private developer is putting a hangar on your airport — if it’s changing that airport layout plan, it’s going to have to have some sort of NEPA done on it.”
“More attention’s being paid to the NEPA process,” comments Waller. “The FAA Airports Division recently released FAA Order 5050.4-B, which outlines the environmental requirements.”
At Collin County, the process actually helped ward off controversy from the Fairview community, which requested a legal review of the environmental assessment. The courts found the existing assessment to be legally sufficient. The town has since withdrawn its claim.
Airport, FBO on the sustainability track
The Massachusetts Port Authority recently launched a series of environmental initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations, enhance its environmental stewardship, and give customers options that can reduce their impact on the environment. At the same time, Boston Logan’s fixed base operator, Signature Flight Support, was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for its new 19,800-square foot Executive Terminal.
Comments Massport CEO and executive director Thomas J. Kinton Jr., “We have already done a lot, but in an age of rising global temperatures and rising oil prices, we must do more.”
Boston recently opened its Terminal A, the world’s first airport terminal to be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Massport is planning to purchase renewable energy credits so that by the end of CY2009, all of the electricity the authority uses for its own operations will be offset through the purchase of those credits. The authority also will purchase additional renewable energy credits to offset other carbon emissions, such as those from Massport vehicles. This will allow the operations of the authority to be carbon neutral. It also will exceed the governor’s Leading by Example Executive Order to procure 15 percent of the authority’s electricity from renewable resources and beat, by two years, the goal of doing so by 2012.
The Signature FBO’s LEED-certified terminal was designed by SchenkelShultz Architecture of Orlando, a leading green designer. The firm, in conjunction with Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, Cambridge, MA, designed the two-story glass and metal-panel terminal and ground support equipment facilities. The facility incorporates sustainable architectural design features, environmentally friendly building products, energy-efficient systems, and sensitive construction practices.