FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2020
JH Airport Board Approves Wind River Air Permit, Amends Application to Reflect Community Feedback
Jackson, Wyoming – The Jackson Hole Airport Board met today during a special meeting that lasted over seven hours to discuss the Wind River Air permit application.
Jackson Hole Airport Board Members met remotely, with limited Airport staff present in the Airport Board Room. Members of the public were able to provide public comments on the agenda item through email before the meeting and through the WebEx platform, which allowed them to call-in and provide live feedback to the Airport Board and applicant.
The Airport Board received over 366 emailed comments that were read into the record, to the Board and applicant by Airport staff.
After public comments were heard, both written and through WebEx, President Jerry Blann asked the applicant, Tony Chambers, “based on what you have heard today, would you like to withdraw or postpone your application at this time?” Mr. Chambers said “I am not interested in withdrawing my application” and that he would like to move forward.
Airport Board member John Eastman asked if Mr. Chambers was willing to “participate in a process within (30) days of the agreement, and enter into discussions with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, FAA, the National Elk Refuge, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department toward the adoption of voluntary air tour management plan designed to identify and mitigate the impacts of scenic air tours.”
Mr. Chambers agreed with an “unequivocal yes,” and the Airport Board voted to adopt this Amendment into the agreement.
Agreements of this kind are typically three years; however, the Airport Board also amended this agreement to be good for one year. They committed to addressing similar operating agreements and making them one year as well, moving forward.
Several members spoke about wrestling with the decision before them today. Airport Board member Bob McLaurin said, “Many friends and family have asked me to vote no, and it would be very easy for me to vote against this today. However, I do not think based on my responsibility as a board member I can today. I will commit to continue to work to get legislation passed in the future regarding scenic tours flying over public lands.”
“Airport staff worked very hard to achieve an online meeting today where the community could participate, and I am glad to see how well it was executed,” says JH Airport Board President Jerry Blann. “I know over the last two years we have heard from many people regarding this issue. While most of us on the Board feel personally conflicted, there was no doubt that upholding our contractual obligations and abiding by the law – to be fair and equal to all aviation users – was the only reasonable path forward.”