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Dania Beach, Fla., City of v. Federal Aviation Admin.

Citation: 37 ELR 20108
No. No. 05-1328, (D.C. Cir., 05/11/2007)

The D.C. Circuit set aside an FAA letter that changed the runway use procedures at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Petitioners argued that the new procedures will route more jet aircraft onto two previously restricted runways, thereby increasing noise, soot, and exhaust fumes over residential areas. The FAA made this change without engaging in NEPA's environmental review process or its own environmental policies, and so the petitioners filed the instant action. The FAA argued that the letter is not reviewable because it merely explains the existing procedures and does not actually change the manner in which the runways will be used. The letter, however, is a reviewable final order. It provides "new marching orders" about how air traffic will be managed at the airport. Because the agency issued the letter without following the environmental review procedures required by NEPA and its own environmental review policies, the letter must be set aside.