Santa Clara is closing RHV for developers not HEALTH

Airport's history
Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

Santa Clara says it is closing Reid-Hillview due to Unleaded Fuel

Did not try to accelerate Unleaded fuel there

County has failed to manage development around RHV for decades

WHY–developers then and now want to land for more with no airport!!!

 

Airports create jobs and positive economic contributions to their neighbors. At the same time, these public utilities tend to lower the value of the surrounding land. Cheaper properties stimulate development of housing causing a conflict between the airfield and the new residents.

This all-too-common phenomena of conflicts in uses can ONLY  be prevented or at least mitigated by well-reasoned zoning and city planning. What organization owns or controls the airport is largely irrelevant. Over time it is THE RESPONSIBILITY of the County of Santa Clara to assure that Reid-Hillview Airport and its neighbors are compatible.

Now the current keepers of the commonweal of this San Jose neighborhood are asserting that the folks who elected them, in particular those living in the area of Central, East and South San Jose, are subject to a health risk. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez pointed her finger as follows:

Cindy Chavez, history and district

“She also said the primary obligation for her and the county was to ensure the safety and health of residents—noting lead levels, regardless how small, have irreversible impacts on child development, according to a county-commissioned study.

 

“When we recognize there’s a threat to the health and safety of the people who live in our community and work in our community, we have an obligation to respond,” Chavez said. “This is in response to us understanding that there’s no safe amount of lead for humans.

The airplanes have used leaded fuel, but they are not responsible for the exposure to those who live near RHV. If, as the Commissioner says, this is a safety and health risk for her constituents, she should be pointing her fingers at the relevant planning and zoning authorities!!!

What is being done to address this issue with realistic IMMEDIATE TERM benefits?

GA PILOTS HELP BRING UNLEADED FUEL TO REID-HILLVIEW AIRPORT

MOVE TO UL94 ADDRESSES CRITICISM OF THE AIRPORT’S ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

“After nearly two years of requesting that unleaded fuel be available to aircraft based at San Jose’s Reid-Hillview of Santa Clara County Airport, the general aviation community celebrated the arrival of the first tankful of Swift Fuels UL94 in a well-attended press event at the airport on August 16.”

Swift Fuel at RHVNo mention of this proactive tactic in the below-quoted article

The economic consequences of the County’s proposed closure are not mentioned. While an unemployment rate of 3.7% is comparatively good, the loss of approximately 100 jobs is disastrous to those who make a good living at Reid-Hillview. This long term operation generates about $10,000,000 a year into the local economy and about $1,000,000 in California and Santa Clara County taxes.

RHV jobs

 

Along with those hard numbers, the termination of this federally invested public utility would have collateral damage-

  • Reid-Hillview serves as a base for Emergency Services and Disaster Recovery Operations for the entire Silicon Valley.
  • Agencies such as CalFire, CHP, PG&E, SJ Police, Civil Air Patrol  and CalDARTuse Reid-Hillview.
  • FEMA’s 7.9 earthquake planning for the bay area’s San Andreas Fault shows the freeway system crashing
  • Reid-Hillview is a critical lifeline to the outside world to bring in first responders, food, medical personnel and supplies. 
  • The airport also facilitates the evacuation of those needing extra care and medical attention.

high level social services at RHV

 

 

 

 

Still not convinced? The science is not as clear as the County claims:

But according to a San José Spotlight analysis, the elevated blood lead levels found in the local study are 
consistent with the state average and neighboring counties. Out of 17,000 blood samples of youth ages 0-18 
taken in the study, only 1.7% show lead levels that call for further testing. The statewide average of children 
who meet the same criteria is between 1.5% and 2.6% depending on age. Small amounts of lead can still deteriorate 
cognitive functions despite the CDC’s threshold.

There are strong reasons not to close an airport- jobs, safety and history. RHV’s neighbors are exposed because  the relevant elected officials ranked developers as more important than those who would live and work in the new neighborhoods.

demographics around RHV

Not pursuing a low-lead fuel policy, as the primary and eventually sole source for aircraft, seems inexplicable when public health is the avowed goal. When that smokescreen is removed, it is clear the County’s real purpose for destroying this airport is satisfying the needs of developers.UL94 at RHV

 

 

 

 


FAA to investigate Santa Clara County leaded fuel ban at airports

by Jana Kadah

DECEMBER 23, 2021

refueling a GA aircraft

{this is a generic picture of fueling a GA aircraft. A GOOGLE search did not find images of this function at either RHV or E16}

The Federal Aviation Administration has started a formal investigation into Santa Clara County’s policy to ban the sale of leaded fuel at its airports starting Jan. 1.

In a letter sent to the county on Thursday, the FAA said it will investigate to determine whether the policy is a violation of the United States Constitution and other FAA guidelines. It also advised the county to halt the ban on leaded fuel implemented by county supervisors because of concerns of lead toxicity around Reid-Hillview Airport.

FAA Part 13 letter

The investigation is the result of complaints leveled by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and other industry groups. On Dec. 14, the coalition sent a letter to the FAA in a last-ditch effort to reverse the leaded fuel ban.

The industry groups also claim the county is refusing to grant long-term leases to pilots once their term expires on Dec. 31—another claim the FAA is investigating.

The FAA gave the county 20 days to respond, instead of its usual 30 since it found “the circumstances require expedited handling of a particular case or controversy,” the federal agency said in the letter.

RHV opponentsThe coalition pushing for the FAA to act is comprised of the AOPA, Experimental Aircraft Association, National Business Aviation Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Transportation Association and Helicopter Association International.

They believe stopping the sale of leaded 100LL fuel at county airports could lead to misfuelling, or using the wrong type of fuel, which could lead to engine failures. Some airplane engines in the United States are not approved to use unleaded fuel. Airplanes that can use a lower-octane unleaded formulation must get a certificate to legally use that fuel, AOPA said in a statement.

“Yes, we all want leaded fuel out of general aviation, but the answer needs to be as safe as it is fast, not with willful disregard for safety,” said AOPA President Mark Baker in a statement. “Charging toward an arbitrary date with little to no consideration for safety poses a great and unnecessary risk to general aviation pilots and local communities. Let’s get this done together—but smartly.”

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who has been at the forefront of the fight to close Reid-Hillview Airport and prohibit the use of leaded fuel, disagreed. She said the date is not arbitrary.Supervisor Chavez at RHV

“We gave notice because we voted on this in August and many of the advocates said don’t worry, we can already fuel with unleaded fuel,” Chavez told San José

 

She also said the primary obligation for her and the county was to ensure the safety and health of residents—noting lead levels, regardless how small, have irreversible impacts on child development, according to a county-commissioned study.

 

“When we recognize there’s a threat to the health and safety of the people who live in our community and work in our community, we have an obligation to respond,” Chavez said. “This is in response to us understanding that there’s no safe amount of lead for humans.”

RHV airport map



 

Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

1 Comment on "Santa Clara is closing RHV for developers not HEALTH"

  1. Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell, a law firm that specializes in aviation law and represents the county, did not respond to a request for comment.

Leave a comment