It is clear that the San Francisco International Airport expansion will have some serious effects on area residents, especially those living in Burlingame. What is not clear is how a bill sponsored by Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco) signed on Saturday by Gov Gray Davis - exempting SFO from environmental laws - will affect Burlingame.

According to Burlingame's Vice Mayor Joe Galligan, officials from SFO have not come to the table to clarify where Burlingame stands on several issues including the salt ponds ( which will be directly impacted by Saturday's bill) and traffic congestion.

"They came to Burlingame with a nice little slide show," Galligan said, adding that the City Council then answered the presentation with posing the question "How are you going to mitigate issues with Burlingame. And there's not been any communication back from the airport since then."

Galligan added that SFO officials have not come back to Burlingame in the last year to respond to any of the questions the city posed.

"The Burlingame shoreline is going to be the most affected shorelines by the expansion. They've been told that and have not come forward with any mitigation," Galligan said.

According to Galligan, the City Council does feel that the expansion will cause some problems locally. He added that he hopes that the city is not forgotten in the midst of the high-dollar and high-profile expansion.

Saturday's bill will pose an extra burden for the community members of Burlingame when it comes to demanding accountability from SFO.

Galligan was unsure yesterday what affect the bill will have on Burlingame and surrounding communities.

He said he expects that SFO will in the end "get the job done." But that the bill "might mean they don't have to do anything (in regards to dealing with issues relevant to surrounding communities).

The bill allows SFO to bypass rules of the California Environmental Quality Act as it goes forward in the purchasing of 18,000 - acres of salt ponds. It also clears the way for SFO's encroachment into the Bay.

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