Lewiston officials join in lawsuit against Federal Aviation Administration

LEWISTON, ID - The Nez Perce County Commission, Lewiston City Council and The Airport Authority Board are trying everything to keep the air traffic control tower open at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport.

The Lewiston Nez-Perce County Air Traffic control tower is scheduled to shut down on June 15, due to federal budget cuts. Many who are outraged by these cuts have joined in on a lawsuit against the FAA.

"Were just asking first that the FAA just follows their own rules," said Mayor Kevin Poole. "They did not follow any of their procedures or protocols for closing the towers. There's no safety assessment, there's no public input there's nothing."

The Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport is backing The United States Contract Tower Association in a suit to keep all contract towers open, so are dozens of other airports.

"They have hired some very powerful attorneys to represent many towers throughout the nation," said Tippett.

Lewiston being one of them. And while many individual suits have been filed Nez Perce County Commissioner Bob Tippett said that joining other airports in a consolidated effort is the only option.

"We can't afford to hire our own lawyer to fight this so we need to be part of a group of people going after it," said Tippett.

The County and City are each investing $2,500. Both Government bodies voted unanimously on the approval of the money at their respective meetings on Monday.

"We thought this the most cost effective ways of using tax dollars to do that," said Poole.

"We want to stay in the mix, we want to make sure that Nez-Perce County Lewiston airport is in the mix of the airports that want to stay open," said Tippet.

Lewiston Mayor Kevin Poole said it's important to do everything in their power to save the tower. Which is why a letter stating their case was sent to the FAA prior to pursuing the lawsuit.

"Ask them to review their case on the Lewiston tower specifically," said Poole.

The city has yet to receive a response.

The FAA plans to close 150 towers across the nation in the near future as part of the federally mandated budget cuts as part of sequestration.