Los Angeles County has joined Inglewood and Culver City in filing a joint lawsuit seeking to halt Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn's $11 billion overhaul of Los Angeles International Airport. Separately, the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion filed a similar lawsuit Thursday.

The lawsuits allege that in granting environmental approval to the airport plan, the city of Los Angeles failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Specifically, the suits said, the project's environmental impact report fails to fully account for its impact on local air emissions, traffic and noise. The suit brought by the municipalities also alleges that the EIR fails to disclose the fact that the capacity of the new airport would exceed the 78.9 million annual passenger cap Hahn promised to adhere to.

Both suits, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seek to have the court void the city's approvals of the airport plan and require the city to redo its environmental reports. L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, an expansion opponent, called the county's suit a "placeholder" while negotiations with the city to cap passenger growth at 78.9 million proceeded.

"We think (the EIR) is very flawed both in the manner which they adopted it and substantively in the failure to provide a regional solution to our airport congestion," said Jan Chatten-Brown, principal of Santa Monica-based Chatten-Brown & Associates, which is representing ARSAC.

The ARSAC lawsuit also says the California Coastal Commission's approval of the plan violates CEQA by failing to protect against encroachments into the habitats of several threatened and endangered species. It seeks a court decision to overturn the Coastal Commission approval.

On Monday, a similar legal action was filed on behalf of the city of El Segundo.

The L.A. City Council approved Hahn's airport overhaul plan in December on a 12 to 3 vote, despite threats at that time that the county would challenge the plan in court.

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