Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2009: Environmental Review Process

Consideration of environmental issues at airports is a complex and often inefficient process, both in terms of environmental documentation for proposed development and of ensuring that airport operations meet applicable regulatory, policy, and other requirements. Protracted environmental documentation can impede development and increase costs on the one hand and fail to realize important objectives in terms of resource protection and preservation of quality of life on the other. Agency enforcement of regulatory standards in a command-and-control mode may fail to provide environmental benefits in proportion to financial costs. The form and implementation of environmental review, management, and compliance processes are important for determining whether critical stakeholder needs are met. A complex set of laws and policies guides airport development, airspace changes, compliance with environmental requirements, and development of aviation technology and products. Environmental review, management, compliance, rulemaking, and enforcement roles are shared among entities at the federal, state, and local levels. These activities often are undertaken in an uncoordinated way that can increase the time, cost, and difficulty of project approval and compliance with environmental requirements but that may or may not advance the goals established for the process. Public opposition and litigation on environmental grounds also add time and increase the uncertainty of the environmental review processes. Environmental issues associated with aviation are pivotal to the future development of aviation infrastructure. Environmental concerns are primary factors constraining the development of additional airport capacity in many areas. Both the perception and the reality of noise, air pollution, water quality, traffic congestion, and other environmental effects—as well as the level of trust or confidence in analyses of these effects and the ability to mitigate them—drive political, legal, and other decisions that affect the ability to expand the aviation system. Similarly, decisions regarding aviation have real effects on the environment that may or may not be fully consistent with federal, state, and local environmental assessments preceding the decisions. Increasingly, airports, airlines, and manufacturers also are looking at proactive environmental management or sustainability management approaches to meet business or policy objectives beyond strict compliance. An improved understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the environmental review, management, and compliance processes associated with aviation is critical.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 41-45
  • Monograph Title: Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2009
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01142332
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Oct 21 2009 10:15AM