The U.S. FAA issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” in its Record of Decision for the South-Central Florida Metroplex, clearing the way for the agency to move forward with satellite-based arrival and departure procedures in the region. Plans call for the FAA to implement the new procedures in mid-2021 for Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, and St. Pete-Clearwater international airports, along with 15 smaller airports.
FAA issued the Record of Decision on the environmental impact of the procedures after holding 29 public workshops and two public comment periods throughout 2019 and 2020. It also evaluated 3,239 comments in the Final Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA was conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which requires the agency to publicly identify the potential environmental impacts of the proposed procedures.
In its decision, the agency arrived at five findings: the proposed procedures will “ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace;” they do not involve any physical development or modification of facilities, including protected resources; they do not adversely affect protected historic resources; they will not have a disproportionate impact on minority or low-income population; and, they do not require a Clean Air Act conformity determination since they do not require facilities development and they would not “result in or induce an increase in operational capacity.”