LAX Study Called 'Fatally Flawed'

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In an opening salvo of a coming battle over the $12-billion LAX expansion proposal, consultants hired by local governments that oppose the plan blasted its voluminous environmental report, saying it inadequately addresses noise, air pollution and traffic worries.

The consultants, in a presentation Tuesday to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, called the 12,000-page expansion document "fatally flawed" and said it fails to comply with federal and state law. They added that the document is so riddled with inconsistencies that "the only practical remedy is to start the process over again."

Criticism of the expansion plan is expected to rise in coming weeks as Los Angeles World Airports--the city agency that runs Los Angeles International and three other airports--and the Federal Aviation Administration close an 180-day public comment period July 25. Public hearings on the report are scheduled for Saturday.

The expansion plan favored by the city agency would add no runways to LAX, but would make improvements to the existing facility to accommodate 89 million passengers a year by 2015. The airport currently serves about 67 million passengers a year.

The expansion plan has prompted an intense regional debate about how to accommodate a projected doubling of air passenger traffic in Southern California by 2025. County supervisors and about 100 Southland cities favor distributing this traffic among regional airports, while unions and airlines favor LAX expansion.

The report doesn't quantify the expansion plan's effects on minority neighborhoods, or suggest adequate measures to offset those impacts as required under federal law, said Andy Lazzaretto, whose firm, A.C. Lazzaretto & Associates, was hired by the county to analyze the plan.

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