2001-02-10 / Letters

Pleading To Breathe

Dear Editor;

I am a lifelong resident of Howard Beach, which adjoins JFK Airport. In fact I was born and lived in South Aqueduct, which has become the heart of JFK. In those days it was like living out in the country, surrounded by lake and farms. The air was fresh and pure. My family was forced off our land in 1945 to make way for the airport to be built.

In the ensuing years, the quality of the air we breathe has become worse. Last summer the fumes were so bad that it made one nauseous. People are inclined to complain about the noise of the jets, whereas the critical impact is on our health. We have asked the Environmental Protection Agency time and time again to measure the quality of air in Howard Beach to no avail. There isn’t a street in Howard Beach where people haven’t been hit by cancer. SAFE, Inc. (Sane Aviation For Everyone) has had a bill introduced into the State Legislature for the past three years called the Bubble Bill (Senate Bill 1420), which directs the State Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor and measure air pollution in and around JFK and LaGuardia airports. The bill has passed the State Assembly twice and is still stalled in the Senate.

I urge everybody to write to State Senator Carl Marcellino, chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York 12247 and to Senator Serf Maltese (who introduced the bill) at the same address. We, the constituents of Howard Beach, need to turn more and more to the people we vote into office to support and protect our families and us.


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