Folsom to file lawsuit on Mather Airport Master Plan

“We value our relationship with the County and this decision was not taken lightly,” said Folsom Mayor Kerri Howell.  “The long term impacts to Folsom residents are too great and a legal challenge is the only alternative remaining.  If the Master Plan proceeds as planned and Mather is converted to a significant cargo hub, the impacts on the residents of Folsom will be significant into perpetuity, and that is unacceptable.” 

 Howell said the FAA has been concerned about the CEQA process and expressed a desire for the County to resolve any issues brought forth by the Folsom community.

 “The City is not looking to shut down Mather,” said Howell.  “However, we insist that the County’s environmental documents adequately address noise impacts and examine other alternatives to using Mather as a cargo hub and routing all flight traffic over Folsom.”

 With the approval of the Master Plan, there is no way for the County to address noise impacts to thousands of County residents.  Local regulations are preempted by the federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act, and cargo flights can come and go without noise restriction.

 “The door will be open for the County to bring in other carriers, including FedEx or EVA and further increase noise over our community forever,” said Howell. 

 “We believe the County can strike a balance between protecting a County economic generator and eliminating adverse impacts on Folsom residents by keeping cargo operations at Sacramento International Airport.”

 Howell noted that there is a need to balance the interests of cargo carriers and the significant adverse impacts to residents

 According to the EIR, in 2012 seven percent of Folsom residents, approximately 5040 individuals, were awakened from sleep due to noise from Mather operations, some of them multiple times each night.  By 2035, tens of thousands of Folsom residents will be impacted as a significant and disproportionate majority of the flights into Mather fly over Folsom.

 “There are alternative flight paths that could be utilized by the County now,” said Howell.  “The County should create viable alternatives before embarking on the Master Plan that paves the way for more air traffic directly over Folsom.”

 Howell noted that the City believes the County should have done a more realistic analysis for night-time awakenings, which has been on on-going, major complaint of Folsom residents.  Well-documented complaints from Folsom residents of night time awakenings from airplane noise were not tabulated, disclosed or analyzed in the EIR.

 “The County should examine how night time cargo flights over thousands of residents can be mitigated,” said Howell.  “There are solutions to achieve the County’s goals while respecting the rights of Folsom residents.”