LAX's runway expansion plans were already facing legal action by community groups and even neighboring governments (Culver City, for one). Now comes the Service Employees Union United Service Workers West, which says it will file a California Environmental Quality Act challenge in court this afternoon.

The expansion, mainly a 260-foot taxiway that will split the airport's northern runways and put air traffic just a little closer to residents in Westchester and Playa del Rey, is part of a nearly $5 billion, much-needed modernization of LAX approved last month by the City Council:

Some residents aren't happy, seeing the expansion and encroaching runway as another sign that their quality of life near this hub will only get worse.

The SEIU is questioning the expansion's local impact and its alleged “significant increases in noise, air pollution and traffic,” according to a statement:

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Naming LAWA (L.A. World Airports, LAX's parent), the City of Los Angeles and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as defendants, the suit asks for a new environmental review and planning process that fully addresses the significant impact of the airport expansion project on workers and local communities.

Robin Wilson, an LAX passenger service agent and SEIU member:

We are left with no choice but to file this challenge because we feel the people running LAX have failed time and again to listen to the voices of airport communities and workers.

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