San Bernardino expansion faces legal challenge

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The Attorney General of California has filed a lawsuit to block the expansion project at San Bernardino airport, calling it unlawful on environmental grounds.

The Eastgate Air Cargo Logistics Center received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration on December 23, 2019, and will involve constructing a 658,500ft2  facility operated by an unnamed third party operator.

The building will include 77 dock doors on the northern side, 24 in the west, and 20 on the south of the air cargo sort building.

Taxiways and aircraft apron parking for 14 aircraft from Boeing 737 to 767 in size will be made available. The project anticipates 12 new daily take-offs and landings, gradually increasing to 26 per day.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit against the FAA, the San Bernardino International Airport Authority and developer Hillwood Enterprises, saying it will have significant environmental impacts on local communities.

Becerra said the 500 truck trips and flights operating seven days a week will have a severe impact on the San Bernardino-Muscoy community, which the California Air Resources Board says is already disproportionately burdened by pollution.

“The FAA, the San Bernardino International Airport Authority, and the developer of this proposed project have ignored months of warnings of the significant health risks to residents of this area. We filed this lawsuit because ‘business as usual’ — the kind that hurts low-income, disadvantaged communities — is no longer an option,” Becerra said.

When submitting the final environmental assessment, the airport authority said the facility would meet unmet demand for air cargo capacity in Southern California.

The flights will serve and support ground operations delivering goods to and from other distributions within a radius of 50-80 miles.

FedEx signed a 10-year agreement to occupy a 57,000ft2 facility in July 2018 and started daily flights in October 2018. UPS started operating five flights a week to its Worldport hub in Louisville, Kentucky, using a Boeing 767 Freighter in March 2018 after two years of seasonal operations.

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