Lawsuits Challenge Oakland International Airport's
Environmental Impact Report

MARCH 28, 1999 (update)

Lawsuits challenging the Oakland International Airport's environmental impact report (EIR) on its latest development plan were filed in Alameda County Superior Court in January 1998. The City of Alameda and a coalition of Alameda homeowner associations (Citizens League for Airport Safety and Serenity, or CLASS) filed suit together. The City of San Leandro was joined by the San Leandro and San Lorenzo school districts in another suit. A Berkeley citizens group, "Keep Jets Over the Bay", and local 342 of the Plumbers and Steamfitters United Association also filed independent suits.

The plaintiffs in these suits complain that the airport's analysis of the environmental impacts of its latest expansion plan does not meet the requirements of the law. The airport's expansion plan is centered on building new facilities to accomodate massive increases in both passenger and air cargo traffic by the year 2010.

The suits were consolidated for trial (docket number C-793033). The Plumbers and Steamfitters United Association settled its suit with the Port before trial. The remaining suits were heard in trial before Alameda County Superior Court Judge William E. Jensen in October 1998. In December Jensen issued a tentative decision, and on Feb. 1, 1999 a final decision, ordering the Port to prepare a supplementary EIR .

The Port's EIR, wrote Jensen, "fails to make a reasonable analysis of the cumulative impact of future anticipated projects such as the construction of a new runway, the extension of runway 11/29, and the construction of a high-speed taxiway."

By March 16 the Port had completed the supplementary EIR, which must be acceptable to the court.

Further news on these lawsuits will be published here. For the full text of some of the complaints, see Court Documents.