Professor Rebecca Bratspies recently discussed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at a meeting with Queens residents in relation to their ongoing efforts to combat airplane noise caused by new flight patterns out of LaGuardia Airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) filed a categorical exemption and claimed there is no significant environmental impact, as defined under NEPA, resulting from the new flight patterns. Professor Bratspies said the FAA should not have filed a categorical exemption. “The choices the FAA have made are questionable at best,” said Bratspies. “Even if you can assume it was reasonable to issue a categorical exclusion, to proceed down that path in light of the impact it’s had on the community is wholly inappropriate. If something is highly controversial, they are not supposed to use an exemption.”
Prof. Bratspies’ Environmental Law class is working with Community Board 11 to analyze the new flight patterns.
Prof. Bratspies is the director of CUNY Law’s Center for Urban Environmental Reform. Her teaching and scholarly research focus on environmental and public international law, with a particular emphasis on how legal systems govern the global commons and how law can further sustainable development. She has published widely on the topics of environmental liability, regulatory uncertainty, regulation of international fisheries, and regulation of genetically modified food crops.