The National Academies

ACRP 11-01/Topic 03-05 [Final]

State and Federal Regulations That May Affect Initiatives to Reduce Airports' GHG Emissions
[ ACRP 11-01 (Legal Aspects of Airport Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $18,500
Research Agency: Kaplan, Kirsch & Rockwell
Principal Investigator: James McDaniel
Effective Date: 11/1/2009
Completion Date: 3/1/2011
Comments: Results published in ACRP Legal Research Digest 17.

There is a growing movement among State and Federal agencies to focus on transportation systems, including airports, in the ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  In California, for example, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 32 (AB32), the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.   AB 32 calls for a reduction by 2020, of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions) in the State of California to levels recorded in 1990. 

 The San Diego Airport's Master Plan became the subject of focus by the California Attorney General who sought to have the Airport's Master Plan environmental review address the impact of the expansion plan on GHG emissions, pursuant to its obligations under AB32.  The Attorney General and the San Diego Airport entered into an MOU that specifies the measures the Airport will take to reduce GHG emissions.  However, under federal law, only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration have authority to regulate aircraft emissions.


It can be expected that ongoing state and federal mandates to reduce GHG emissions will have an impact on Airports nationwide as the EPA and States seek ways to accomplish GHG reductions.


It would be helpful to airport lawyers to have a digest of airport initiatives and state and federal laws and regulations that govern an airport's ability to implement GHG reduction efforts consistent with their concurrent obligation to permit aviation activity as mandated by federal statutes, regulations, and the FAA.


The intent of this ACRP Legal Topic is to survey and categorize airport efforts to reduce GHG emissions and to summarize state and federal laws that affect an airport's ability to implement GHG reductions. A compilation of carbon reduction initiatives at airports which categorize the efforts in terms of distinguishing between green building requirements and other building code directives (for example, enegy efficiency initiatives, lighting and HVAC efficiency improvements, and use of solar energy), and efforts directed at reducing aircraft GHG emissions (for example by use of preconditioned air units and aircraft tugs, or limits on engine idling).  


The Consultant shall survey existing literature, research state and federal statutes, case law, and survey airport proprietors, and other knowledgeable persons in order to identify initiatives and GHG reduction trends as described above.  Of particular interest should be state legislation which specifically requires airport GHG impacts to be addressed in any expansion plan environmental reviews.  The report should synthesize the literature, statutes, regulations, and case law gathered by the Consultant’s research efforts.  The primary data collected through surveys and interviews should be tabulated and presented to supplement the legal synthesis. 


 Status:  This has been published as LRD 17 State and Federal Regulations That May Affect Initiatives to Reduce Airports' GHG Emissions.








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