John Wayne Airport to Implement Environmental Changes Regulating Emissions

JEFF ANTENORE, Voice of OC

A passenger plane takes off from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana in 2017.

Eco-friendly changes are coming to John Wayne Airport’s ground vehicles and transportation methods in compliance with an August 2014 agreement between the facility and the county of Orange to regulate greenhouse gas emissions sources at the airport.


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The plan will include three emission reduction measures: Conversion of ground support equipment, such as tugs and refuelers, from fuel-powered to electric; a reduction in the amount of jet fuel truck deliveries using a pipeline; and, a change to using electric parking shuttle buses, according to a county staff report.

The changes come as global warming has been at the top of the agenda in many nations, including the United States, in the context of combating climate change.

The 504-acre airport experiences around 4 million passenger boardings per year, according to a report by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure in November to mitigate specifically the production of nitrogen oxides emitted by ground vehicles at the airport such as jet fuel delivery trucks and shuttle buses. The measure will also assist in the reduction of other harmful pollutants including volatile organic hydrocarbon, particulate matter and greenhouse gases.

Eighty percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in the South Coast Air Basin are attributed to mobile sources, which the measure will target, according to Bradley J. Whitaker, senior public information specialist at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, nitrogen oxides harm both the ozone layer and human health, causing respiratory symptoms.

John Wayne is one of five airports in the South Coast Air Basin, an area designated by California for air pollution control. The airports have been working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to develop strategies for reducing emissions. According to a county staff report, these strategies have been developed in conjunction with the California Airports Council to implement common programs between the airports.

“We are very proud of the voluntary emission reduction measures we are implementing and pleased that these measures will assist the South Coast Air Quality Management District in their efforts to quantify the associated emission reduction benefits,” John Wayne Airport Director Barry Rondinella said.

The Supervisors’ motion also abides by the requirements of an environmental impact document generated by the county, which projects John Wayne Airport’s compliance with incremental federal ozone standards by 2023 and later, 2031.