2011-02-04 / Letters

Opposed To JFK Plan

Dear Editor,

The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers (JBEW’s) stand firmly opposed to the addition of new runways and/or the extension of new or existing runways into Jamaica Bay. This proposal would do irreparable harm to the fragile ecosystem of Jamaica Bay. As the only designated wildlife refuge in the National Parks System, Jamaica Bay is host to over one third of all bird species in North America making it one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States.

In addition over 60 reptiles and dozens of species of fish can be found in this Bay. The proposal by the Port Authority to fill in and destroy up to 400 acres of wetlands and shoreline area is ill advised and without recent precedent. The report, which is the basis for these plans, appears to be seriously flawed as it refers to the impacted areas as “dead” zones when in fact they are some of the most productive areas on the Northeast coast. Home to spring and summer runs of striped bass and blue fish which number in the tens of thousands this area is rich in natural resources. At a time when tremendous improvements, including marshland and oyster restoration, osprey revival, and water quality upgrades, have been achieved this proposal would serve to deliver an impact that may be fatal to the bay. In addition to the huge loss of habitat and impact to bird and fish populations the expansion would curtail tidal flow and inhibit necessary flushing action leaving a large hypoxic lifeless area in the entire northern section of the bay.

The JBEW’s recognize that the airports today have too little capacity for growing demands and have congestion and delays but the expansion of JFK Airport at the expense of the environment is totally unacceptable said Dan Mundy Sr., founder of the JBEW’s. These startling proposals were unveiled at the conference titled “Upgrading to World Class – The future of the New York Regions Airports.” It was attended by hundreds of representatives from the airport industry and other interested parties, on 1/27/11, hosted by the Regional Plan Association. The report, http:// rpa.org<http://rpa.org/> (see pages 150 – 153) was developed by a consortium of major federal, state, city and county government stakeholders.

No local environmental input was sought and at a Q&A period,during the conference, Dan Mundy Jr. pointed out that had involvement been included the document produced may not have been so flawed. The JBEW’s suggest that the federal government should fully fund the FAA’s NexGen 1 and 2 programs that will transform air traffic control from the present ground-based technologies to satellite based technology. This action will produce capacity increases for each airport and enable the adjustment of flight schedules dynamically and provide for safer airline travel. Also the expanded use of outlying airports with improved transportation and managing demand that the present airports will solve many of the problems without the massive environmental impact that the runway expansion will create.

DAN MUNDY SR

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