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To follow-up on my story today about the advisory label given to the airport authority’s November ballot measure, one environmentalist – an airport opponent – says the label could have broader legal implications.

David Hogan, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Urban Wildlands Program, says calling the vote advisory might strengthen the airport authority’s case that it doesn’t yet need to consider the proposed airport’s environmental impacts.

On the advice of the authority’s counsel, an in-depth environmental impact report won’t be prepared unless voters approve the measure and the military eventually agrees to hand over some land. That report would detail the impacts of noise, air pollution and construction on the endangered species around Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in much more depth than has been done yet.

Hogan says this: “But if this really IS a binding vote (and that’s certainly how the authority will treat it even if they call it advisory) then the authority’s decision to hold the vote prior to preparation and approval of an [environmental impact report] is probably a significant violation of [the California Environmental Quality Act]. No doubt the authority is aware of this vulnerability and is therefore careful to characterize the vote as advisory.”

Read our report on the potential environmental consequences of putting the airport at Miramar. (The consequences include the possible extinction of seven plant and animal species, according to environmentalists.)

ROB DAVIS

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