On February 22, 2023, the Los Angeles Aviation Commission approved a proposal to provide full-serve and self-serve fueling for aviation gas services at Whiteman Airport and General William J. Fox Airfield. William J. Fox Airfield is situated 5 miles away from Lancaster, while Whiteman Airport is located a crosswalk away from a densely populated community. The city of Los Angeles has a history of city sanctioned redlining, which has contributed to polluting industries establishing themselves in highly populated residential areas, disproportionately exposing community members and families to toxins, such as lead from aviation gas, every day.
What Does This Decision Mean?
While the full-serve and self-serve fueling policy benefits smaller airports with overhead costs, it prioritizes profit over people. Self-fueling services will subsequently automate jobs and increase flights coming in and out of Whiteman Airport by allowing pilots to refuel at night and in the early mornings when staff are not there. This decision carries the negative potential to decrease jobs at Whiteman Airport. According to Fred Stipkovits, technical support manager for tank and piping supplier for Garsite "A lot of smaller airports have to cut back on staff, and self-serve fueling stations allow them to deliver the same services pilots have come to expect".
Inequitable Impacts for Pacoima
Whiteman Airport continues to operate without a curfew, and having self-serve fuel will only increase the number of flights during the early mornings, late at night, and overall increase localized lead emissions. Now more than ever, the health and safety of the Pacoima community should be the top concern for LA County, rather than prioritizing the convenience for pilots to continue perpetuating the legacy of lead exposure and noise pollution in Pacoima.
What Can You Do?
Full-serve and self-serve fueling will Not benefit Pacoima Residents. Stand in solidarity -have your voice heard. Mark your calendars to join the next LA Aviation Commission Meeting to provide a Public Comment on March 29th
WHEN: March 29, 2023 | How to join: Check out their agenda
Associated Program: Shutdown Whiteman Airport