LTFL Aviation & Environmental Law

LTFL Aviation & Environmental Law LTFL Aviation & Environmental Law: Aviation, Airport Development and Environmental Law Representation The Taber Law Group was founded on the premise that clients should be able to find proven, top-quality outside counsel in a more cost-effective setting.

We provide the same high quality environmental, aviation and airport development legal services as larger firms at lower and more flexible rates, with more personal service, and with fewer conflicts of interest. Although Taber Law Group is new, Owner & Founder, Steven M. Taber, has practiced environmental, aviation and airport development law for over 23 years, including at a large law firm, at the Federal Aviation Administration, and at the Illinois Attorney General’s office. With hourly rates at large law firms significantly over the $300 per hour mark, it has become increasingly difficult or impossible for clients to obtain cost-efficient legal representation. At the same time, environmental liability, and risks and liability associated with running an airport have increased exponentially. On July 1, 2010, Steven M. Taber founded Taber Law Group to provide cost-efficient, top-quality service to environmental, aviation and airport clients.

Operating as usual

08/21/2020
www.gao.gov

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its report entitled "Aircraft Noise: Information on a Potential Mandated Transition to Quieter Airplanes" on August 20, 2020. https://bit.ly/31d9NcO The #GAO examined whether recertifying aircraft to meet the more stringent Stage 4 and Stage 5 requirements would have an impact on airport noise. The GAO found that "while the noise certifications for most U.S.-based large commercial jet airplanes are for the minimum noise standards, nearly all of them (96%) are able to meet more stringent noise standards [for Stage 4 and 5]. This is primarily because aircraft technology has outpaced the implementation of noise standards." This led the GAO to conclude that "requiring the airplanes to go through the recertification process for more stringent noise standards could be costly and would provide little noise reduction."
This really does not come as a surprise, as the GAO notes, advances in technology have led to quieter aircraft, but airport noise remains a concern. This only underlines the need for enforceable noise standards on the ground to protect the public health and welfare of people on the ground. #aircraftnoise #aviationnoise #airplanenoise #airplane #aviation #noise #noisecontrol #aviationlaw

If you are going to be flying and want to social distance, be sure to ask the airline about their policies on masks, whe...
07/22/2020
Worried About Crowded Planes? Know Where Your Airline Stands

If you are going to be flying and want to social distance, be sure to ask the airline about their policies on masks, whether they block the middle seat and often they clean their planes. American Airlines and United Airlines appears to be the laxest with respect to safety precautions, while Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Alaska Airlines are still keeping capacity restrictions in place and requiring masks throughout the flight. #airlines #covid19 #airlineindustry #airtravel https://nyti.ms/3hkeV41

Whether your flight will be jammed with passengers, or have enough empty seats to soothe virus-fearing travelers, really depends on the airline.

More on airports and the coronavirus. Los Angeles International Airport is launching a first-in-the-nation pilot of ther...
06/23/2020
LAWA Official Site | News Release | June 22, 2020

More on airports and the coronavirus. Los Angeles International Airport is launching a first-in-the-nation pilot of thermal camera technology, using the devices to screen both arriving and departing passengers. Here’s how it will work: “If a voluntary participant is identified as having an elevated body temperature, a medical professional near the camera operator will approach the identified person and request a secondary screening using a handheld, non-contact thermometer,” LAX said in its release on Monday. https://bit.ly/3fRF8Xe Departing passengers will be advised not to travel (though not physically stopped from doing so) and arriving passengers “may be referred to CDC staff on site,” according to the airport.

LAX will evaluate three different types of cameras during the pilot, with input from Transportation Security Administration, the CDC, airlines and county health officials. The move is an example of the kind of ad-hoc patchwork of airport and airline measures that have popped up as the federal government has declined to set any sort of mandatory standard to help prevent the virus from spreading via air travel. (See previous posts about the lack of Federal Aviation Administration leadership in this regard). #airports #covid19 #LAX #FAA #ThermalCamera #CDC #TSA #airtravel

Update on my article about Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Dickson telling Congress the FAA will not requi...
06/22/2020
Airports beg government to set face mask policy for passengers

Update on my article about Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Dickson telling Congress the FAA will not require face masks on airplanes. The next day, Thursday, June 18, 2020, Airports Council International - North America President Kevin M. Burke appeared before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security and said that federal guidelines would “help to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and re-instill confidence of those who work in or travel through America’s airports.” https://bit.ly/2V6Qcru #airports #covid19 #airlinesandairplanes #aviationindustry

Airline passengers are encountering a patchwork of rules when it comes to wearing masks on planes and in airports, creating confusion and frustration among customers and companies alike.

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transpo...
06/19/2020
FAA says it won't make masks on planes mandatory

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He told the Senators that "[o]ur space is aviation safety and their [CDC] space is public health," he said, later adding that "these will not be regulatory mandates," referring to requiring passengers to wear masks. https://bit.ly/3hLRVfm This is long been the issue with the FAA, they do not see that public health is part of their mandate. This is true when it comes to noise, air emissions, climate change, as well as health standards for aircraft. Yet, the FAA has successfully pushed out other regulatory agencies from exerting control over public health issues caused by aviation. For example, the EPA has control over noise pollution, except noise. Will the FAA ever make public health a priority?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday said it will not make it mandatory for passengers to wear masks on planes, leaving the decision to require the protective gear up to individual airlines.

06/15/2020
www.supremecourt.gov

In U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, the Supreme Court today sided with the developers of the Atlantic Coast pipeline (slated to run from West Virginia to North Carolina) in a dispute over the project's planned crossing beneath the Appalachian Trail. Justices for the court ruled in a 7-2 decision to overturn the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' finding that the Forest Service could not authorize the natural gas pipeline to pass hundreds of feet below the trail. The decision hinged on whether the Appalachian Trail were "lands" under the National Parks' jurisdiction and therefore the pipeline could not cross it or whether the land was still under the Forest Service's jurisdiction and therefore the pipeline could cross it. Justice Thomas, writing for the majority, said that the property was still under the Forest Service's jurisdiction, although the National Parks had an "easement." Justice Sotomayor wrote in dissent that the "land" is managed by the National Parks and the law makes no distinction between easement or ownership. The pipeline still requires more than half a dozen approvals tied up in litigation unrelated to the Supreme Court case. https://bit.ly/2Y8izHP #environmentallaw #nationalparks #pipeline #pipelinesafety #pipelinemanagement

06/08/2020

Last Friday, June 5, 2020, was "World Environment Day." While this year's celebration flew mostly under the radar (the theme this year was "Celebrate Biodiversity" and the host countries were Colombia and Germany) due to many other important topics, Airlines for America issued a press release with a headline "U.S. Airline Celebrate World Environment Day." https://bit.ly/2BM90p8 The press release states that "U.S. airlines were transporting a record 2.5 million passengers and 58,000 tons of cargo per day – and at the same time they were contributing just 2 percent of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions." The airlines say that they hope to cut "net carbon emissions in half in 2050, relative to 2005 levels, and by improving...fuel efficiency by 40 percent." While this is a step in the right direction, so much more needs to be done in areas besides carbon footprint. #airlines #worldenvironmentday #carbonemissions #fuelmanagement #carbonfootprint

Slipped under the door when Congress was in recess, hidden on its webpage as a 2018 Report to Congress, and released on ...
05/04/2020
FAA’s Report On Alternatives to the DNL Noise Metric Is Tone Deaf

Slipped under the door when Congress was in recess, hidden on its webpage as a 2018 Report to Congress, and released on a day that DOT Secretary Chao announced billions of dollars of aid to airports, the FAA released its overdue Report to Congress in fulfillment of Congress’ directive in Section 188 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 on April 14, 2020. The full report can be found here: https://bit.ly/2W2F5AC. Section 188 called on the FAA to evaluate alternative metrics to the DNL system, “such as the use of actual noise sampling and other methods, to address community airplane noise concerns…” The Report is a rather thin and perfunctory analysis of noise metrics. And it comes as no surprise that the FAA stands by its use of DNL as its primary metric for noise modeling. The Report concludes that DNL provides the best information for its environmental decision-making because it considers the magnitude, duration, and frequency of the noise events. The FAA does admit that there are “supplemental metrics” that could be used in certain situations in addition to DNL, such as N75 for speech interference, % Awakening for sleep disruption, Leq(8) for learning disruption, and Lmax(C) for rattle caused by low frequencies. #FAA #aviationnoise #DNL #reporttocongress #airplanenoise

Slipped under the door while Congress was in recess, hidden on their webpage as a 2018 Report to Congress, and released on a day that DOT Secretary Chao announced billions of dollars of aid to airports, the Federal Aviation Administration released its overdue Report to Congress in fulfillment of Con

Today is National Noise Awareness Day. As part of that, HMMH published a blog post showing the decrease in noise at two ...
04/29/2020
International Noise Awareness Day - HMMH

Today is National Noise Awareness Day. As part of that, HMMH published a blog post showing the decrease in noise at two airports because of the COVID-19 crisis. While I do not think that you can draw any policy or legal conclusions from the data, it is interesting. https://hmmh.com/resources/news-insights/blog/international-noise-awareness-day-2/

This International Noise Awareness Day, the world is quieter than usual. With COVID-19 keeping millions of people across the globe indoors,…

The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that it would "adjust the operating hours" of "approximately 100 con...
04/22/2020
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that it would "adjust the operating hours" of "approximately 100 control towers" in order "to ensure the continued resiliency of the air traffic control system amid the #covid19 pandemic. While the FAA stated that the reason for these "adjustments" was to allow for "continued safe operations throughout the national airspace system while minimizing health risks to our workforce," the FAA conceded that the "adjusted" towers have seen a significant reduction in flights, "especially during the evening and nighttime hours, since the pandemic began." https://bit.ly/3axv96a #AirTraffic #ControlTowers

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04/21/2020
www.govinfo.gov

On April 21, US Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (#EPA) published the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) in the Federal Register, with a scheduled implementation date of June 22, 2020. https://bit.ly/2znMvWt

When implemented, the NWPR will result in several significant changes to the extent of "waters of the U.S." In other words, it may change what "waters" are subject to Clean Water Act, including, but not limited to, "ephemeral" waters, wetlands, and interstate waters.

Additionally, many aquatic resources that were, as a matter of policy, not considered "waters of the U.S." have been codified as such by the NWPR. #USACE #NWPR #NavigableWaters #Wetlands #cleanwateract

U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a press release last night https://bit.ly/2RWXFHR stating that $2.9 billion would...
04/21/2020
Treasury Finalizes Agreements with Major Airlines, Disburses Initial Payroll Support Program Payments | U.S. Department of the Treasury

U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a press release last night https://bit.ly/2RWXFHR stating that $2.9 billion would be made available to passenger #aircarriers, including two major airlines and 54 smaller passenger air carriers. The #CARESAct, Title IV, Subtitle B allocated $25 billion to go to passenger air carriers for "payroll support programs." Treasury also announced that it had concluded Payroll Support Program agreements with Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines. Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and SkyWest Airlines have indicated their plan to participate in the Payroll Support Program. Together, these airlines represent nearly 95% of U.S. airline capacity.

Treasury will also make additional payments to “approved applicants on a rolling basis.” The CARES Act allocated $4 billion to cargo air carriers and $3 billion to "contractors," but Treasury has not issued any directives regarding these businesses. The press release concluded that “Treasury has received hundreds of applications for the Payroll Support Program from passenger air carriers, #aircargo carriers, and contractors, and is working to review and approve applications as quickly as possible.”

About Treasury General Information Role of the Treasury The Secretary Officials Organizational Chart Orders and Directives Offices Domestic Finance Economic Policy General Counsel International Affairs Management Tax Policy Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Inspectors General Bureaus Alcohol and....

The Federal Aviation Administration is enabling drone use for #covid19 response efforts within its existing regulations ...
04/17/2020

The Federal Aviation Administration is enabling drone use for #covid19 response efforts within its existing regulations and emergency procedures. The small unmanned aircraft rule (14 CFR, Part 107 https://bit.ly/3eveMKr) and Certificate of Authorization process (https://bit.ly/2XJAdBI) allow operators to transport goods and certain medical supplies–including test kits, most prescription drugs and, under certain circumstances, blood. However, the flight must comply with all provisions of the rule or authorization.

In addition, the FAA will also issue special approvals for flights that support "emergency activities and appropriate government, health, or community initiatives." As always, "safety is the top consideration" with the FAA when it review the request. #drones #UAV #UAS

Two articles about air cargo worth mentioning. First, the American Shipper is reporting that with a “global shortage of ...
04/16/2020
Airlines begin pulling passenger seats to make room for cargo - FreightWaves

Two articles about air cargo worth mentioning. First, the American Shipper is reporting that with a “global shortage of air cargo space” some overseas passenger airlines are taking out seats in order to make room for cargo. Both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have reported that they are investigating “in-cabin cargo carriage” but are currently only flying cargo in the lower deck. Transporting cargo in the passenger cabin would require FAA approval. https://bit.ly/2z2jpeQ. Toward that end, on April 16, 2020, Federal Aviation Administration issued a Safety Alert for Operators (#SAFO) that addresses considerations when performing safety risk assessments prior to moving cargo in airplanes configured with passenger cabins, in lower cargo compartments, and in the passenger cabin (without passengers on-board). https://bit.ly/34FAirC

Second, Ontario International Airport (ONT) in Ontario, California, reported a 22% increase in air cargo tonnage year-to-year in March 2020. From January through March, Ontario increased its tonnage 13% over the same period last year. It should be pointed out, however, that the top 20 cargo airports all experienced sharp declines from January through March because of the coronavirus pandemic. https://bit.ly/2K8uKMV #Aircargo #ontario #FAA #airfreight

Cargo has had a window view on some international airlines. Now U.S. airlines are looking to load boxes in the passenger cabin when operating in cargo-only mode. The next step — remove the seats altogether.

On April 16, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA completed its “reconsideration of the appropriate an...
04/16/2020
Final Revised Supplemental Finding and Results of the Residual Risk and Technology Review | US EPA

On April 16, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA completed its “reconsideration of the appropriate and necessary finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” (MATS). Former Coal Lobbyist and current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said he was following through on the Supreme Court's direction and correcting the Obama's administration's “flawed cost finding” that accompanied the original regulations. EPA claims that “power plants will emit no more mercury to the air than before.” After primarily considering compliance costs relative to the HAP benefits of MATS, EPA concluded that it is not "appropriate and necessary" to curb releases of mercury, along with arsenic and other hazardous pollutants, emitted from electric utility steam generating units under section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

This action from the EPA is certain to open the door for litigation coming from both sides of the issue. The coal industry will push to set aside the MATS regulations entirely. And the environmental and public health groups will attempt to get the “appropriate and necessary” finding re-instated. https://bit.ly/3euw36M #clearairact #MATS #EPA #Wheeler #airpollution #coal

EPA revised the Supplemental Cost Finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and completed the Clean Air Act required “risk and technology review” for these standards

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Aviation & Environmental Law

Leech Tishman’s Aviation attorneys regularly guide clients through the highly-regulated world of aviation and aerospace. With backgrounds that include experience serving as legal counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and as a panel attorney for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), members of our group are well-versed in advising clients on all aspects of aviation, aerospace and airport law.

Leech Tishman’s Environmental Group is positioned to assist clients in navigating through the complex web of regulatory and litigation aspects of environmental law. Leech Tishman’s seasoned attorneys regularly provide guidance with regard to all aspects of federal and state environmental and natural resource regulations. We are focused on helping clients achieve compliance, minimize liability risks, obtain necessary permits and avoid costly litigation.

Aviation Law

Drawing on their experience as counsel with the FAA and other governmental agencies, our attorneys can assist clients in all aspects of administrative law, corporate and tax law, transactional law, and environmental and land use law relevant to airports.

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