San Diego Airport to Expand in a Green Way

The San Diego Airport is taking "a key leadership role" in the fight against global warming by agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its major airport expansion, according to California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr.

"This agreement underscores the Airport Authority's commitment to sustainability in overseeing airport operations and capital developments at Lindbergh Field," said Alan D. Bersin, chair of the Airport Authority Board.

The San Diego Airport is the busiest single-runway airport in the nation. Passenger travel at the airport is expected to grow approximately 2.8 percent per year for the next 25 years. To accommodate this growth, the airport is planning to construct 10 additional gates, new overnight jet parking, expanded taxiways, and a proposed 5,000 space parking structure.

In an effort to reduce some of the emissions from this expansion, the airport has agreed to incorporate measures, such as green building certification and alternative energy airport shuttles, into its 30-year master plan. Some of the measures that the airport will adopt include:

• Groundside power at new and refurbished gates, hangars, and cargo facilities to allow airplanes on the ground to use electricity without having to run on-board engines which emit diesel particulate and greenhouse gases.
• Replacement of aircraft pushback tractors, upon the end of their useful life, with electric or alternative-fuel vehicles.
• Transition of airport shuttles to electric or alternative-fuel vehicles.
• Use of cool roofs, solar panels, and cool pavement for new buildings and paved areas.
• Assurance that new terminal facilities will obtain a green building certification from a third-party appraiser.

The airport will also inventory all greenhouse gas emissions attributable to aircraft ground movements and commit to recommending ways to reduce those emissions 20 percent by 2015.

Under federal law, only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration have authority to regulate aircraft emissions. In December, Brown filed a petition asking EPA to regulate aircraft greenhouse gases but the agency refused to take any action.

The Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, requires California to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but the rules and market mechanisms will not take effect until 2012.

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