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Air Transp. Ass'n v. Crotti

Citation: 5 ELR 20236
No. No. C-72-2189 WTS, 389 F. Supp. 58/7 ERC 1748/(N.D. Cal., 02/10/1975)

A three-judge court rules that California regulations providing for a gradual reduction in airport noise levels are not per se invalid as intruding into a field of aircraft regulation, which is preempted to the federal government. The rules present several suggested means by which this reduction can be accomplished, including the monitoring of aircraft noise levels, modification of flight paths and schedules, use of smaller planes, employment of buildings and natural terrain as shielding, and development of non-residential land uses within the "noise impact boundary" surrounding airports.The steps of monitoring noise levels, employing natural and manmade shielding, and developing compatible land uses within the noise impact boundary are clearly within local police power control and beyond the area of regulation preempted by Congress. Whether or not the regulations when put into practice are in fact an abuse of police power which unlawfully burdens either the rights of airport proprietors or interstate and foreign commerce as utilized by aircraft cannot now be determined. Accompanying regulations which regulate the noise levels of aircraft in direct flight and impose criminal fines for violations are however a per se unlawful exercise of police power in the exclusive federal domain of control over aircraft flights and operations, and are therefore held void and unenforceable.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison
111 Sutter Street
San Francisco, Cal. 94104

Counsel for Defendants
Nicholas C. Yost Deputy Attorney General
State Building
San Francisco, Cal. 94102

Thomas M. O'Connor City Attorney
City Hall
400 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, Cal. 94102