Case Work: Land

Taos Municipal Airport Expansion

OPPOSING PARTIES: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Town of Taos
STATUS: On-going
ATTORNEYS: Douglas Meiklejohn


The Law Center represents Taos Pueblo in efforts to prevent or limit expansion of the Taos municipal airport, which would impair religious practices by Pueblo members, threaten the iconic architecture of the Pueblo, and increase development pressure on their living culture – the basis for its designation as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In 2003, the FAA conducted a noise analysis that offered the conclusion that a Cessna overflight is no louder than a thunderclap. Our clients assert that comparing a twin-engine aircraft to an act of nature illustrates the administration’s lack of cultural sensitivity.

We are in continuing negotiations with the FAA to prevent the expansion of the airport, or to mitigate its impacts on the Pueblo.


2/29/2012 – The last of the eight parties sign the Memorandum of Agreement. Memorandum of Agreement.
12/30/2011 – Taos Pueblo, the Town of Taos, the FAA, and other parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement (Read press release). The Memorandum of Agreement will put in place measures to discourage pilots from flying over Taos Pueblo lands, to monitor flights that do occur over Pueblo lands, and to address crashes on Pueblo lands.  It also calls for Taos Pueblo and the Town of Taos to work together on federal legislation that would mandate the adoption of regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration to protect Taos Pueblo from overflights.
August 2009 – Negotiations with the FAA are continuing.