I don’t have any specific information, but I just got word that the case was thrown out of the Federal Court of Appeals in New York. This should clear the road to get construction underway pending the reissuance of the USACE 404 Permit.
– edited 1/26/2008 –
Apparently the decision was made late Friday and solidified early yesterday morning with the airport authority being notified just before their regular Monday morning meeting. We all, including the airport officials, expected to wait weeks if not months for this thing to draw out and certainly did not expect a decision so quickly. This speaks strongly to the quality of work the FAA and the other agencies involved in support of the relocation.
As a matter of procedure, the Army Corps of Engineers rescinded the issuance of the 404 Permit when the construction stay was set in place in November. The reissuance of the 404 Permit is all that is required to start construction full force. The Permit could be issued today, or in a month, but I will let you know when it is.
The official press release from the Airport Authority states:
The Panama City – Bay County International Airport and Industrial District (Airport Authority) announced today that the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Court) has vacated its stay that limited construction for the relocation of the Panama City – Bay County International Airport on property donated by The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE).
“We are grateful to the Court for its time, attention and judgment,” said Airport Authority Vice Chairman Bill Cramer, who attended the hearing in New York City. “We will now move forward with all due speed to complete this project and deliver its aviation, economic and evnironmental benefits to Bay County and Northwest Florida.”
The order from the Court noted that the four criteria are relevant in considering a stay: “. . .the likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm if a stay is denied, substantial injury to the party opposing the stay if one is issued and the public interest.”
The order concluded, “. . .having reviewed the briefing on appeal and the administrative record before the agency, and having heard oral arguments on the merits on January 23, 2008, we now conclude that these factors balance in favor of the respondents (The FAA and the Airport Authority).”
“We appreciate the fact that the Court expedited this final hearing,” Cramer said.
The New York City-based National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Defenders of Wildlife and Friends of PFN (a small group of Bay County, Florida, recreational pilots) initiated the petition for review.