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Folsom, El Dorado Hills residents rally behind noise issue around Mather airport expansion

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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The planned expansion of Mather Airport has many in the area concerned about an increase in air traffic and noise pollution.

The expansion calls for expanding the second runway and installing a high-tech instrument landing system, allowing the airport to function during inclement weather.

The concern is that the surrounding communities of Folsom, El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park will be affected by the increased air traffic and noise.

“Right now it isn’t a problem,” said Heather Gray of Cameron Park. “There aren’t really a lot of planes that fly over the area, but I am concerned that more airplanes will mean more noise, especially if they are flying low.”

The expansion, and the airport, fall under the domain of Sacramento county leaving El Dorado County residents with little course of action.

“I’ve written letters to (Sacramento) County expressing my concerns, but I don’t know if it’s going to do any good,” said El Dorado Hills resident Kevin Klein. “I suppose they are going to do whatever they want.”

Tara Mccann, a civil engineer and El Dorado County resident, wrote in an email that the EIR (environmental impact report) fails to meet the minimum standard of the California Environmental Quality Act.

“It fails to give public decision makers accurate information, ‘minimalizing’ the significant impacts of the project and stating areas of impact are not included by mere geography that they lie outside a predetermined sphere of influence,” Mccann wrote. “(And) the overall noise analysis is fundamentally flawed.”

The Noise Exposure Element of the Draft EIR it states the proposed project would not result in an increase in noise levels over sensitive land uses.

“This is the dangerously misguided,” Mccann wrote. “I can’t even imagine that any public official would sign off on this. It is so glaringly misinforming at such an obvious and elementary level.”