AUSTIN, Texas — The plan for a jet fuel storage facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is moving forward following a 5-5 split vote by Austin City Council Thursday.
The facility, which will house two 1.5-million-gallon tanks, will be on the western edge of airport property and within a few hundred feet of a residential area. Nearby residents resisted the move.
Thursday’s vote concerned the possibility of finding another location for the fuel facility.
Following the vote, the Department of Aviation released the following statement:
“The Department of Aviation is grateful to the community and our surrounding neighbors for their willingness to engage with us and share their experiences. Understanding our community’s legacy of environmental injustice in East Austin is crucial to making equitable and sound decisions for today and the future.
“We also recognize the importance of investing in community relationships and providing timely information to the public. We look forward to launching our Airport Green Team, which will guide our environmental stewardship through continued engagement with the community as we work to modernize the airport and build the infrastructure needed to support our growing city.
“We remain committed to working together with our community, City Council, and airport business partners to achieve a world-class airport that is safe and environmentally sound for all.”
The facility is badly needed. Despite its growth and increasing foot traffic, the Austin airport has a great deal less capacity for fuel storage than other major airports.
This has prompted the issuance of jet fuel shortage alerts recently. Sometimes the airport has not had enough fuel on hand for aircraft. Arriving planes have been landing at the airport with additional fuel for fear there wouldn’t be enough to fill up in Austin.
That’s just one growth-related problem the airport is dealing with. A shortage of TSA staff has in recent weeks created long lines and hours-long waits for security screening at the airport, typically in the morning hours.
It’s expected the problem will persist through the summer, and airport officials have urged travelers to arrive early for their flights.