2011-08-17 / Front Page

Station Raises Safety Concerns


Flushing Bay, location of proposed waste transfer station in direct path of low flying aircraft on final approach to LaGardia Airport that could be threatened by bird strikes. 
Photo Vincent DuPre Flushing Bay, location of proposed waste transfer station in direct path of low flying aircraft on final approach to LaGardia Airport that could be threatened by bird strikes. Photo Vincent DuPre Congressmembers Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights/The Bronx) and Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside/L.I.) sent a letter to city Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood requesting an immediate response to a recent article in the New York Post about the proposed garbage transfer facility near LaGuardia Airport in College Point. The project has raised concerns about the airport’s eastern runway protection zone, or safety perimeter, which could be compromised by the facility.

“The residents of Queens, as well as the American flying public, deserve to know that every possible effort has been made to guarantee their safety. We cannot allow questions about the safety of this facility to linger,” the lawmakers wrote.

For nearly five years, Crowley and Ackerman have warned that the garbage at the trash transfer facility could attract birds and increase the threat of bird strikes to planes landing and taking off from LaGuardia. These concerns were heightened following the Miracle on the Hudson flight in 2009, when U.S. Airways flight 1549, which departed from LaGuardia, crash-landed into the Hudson River after birds struck the aircraft’s engines.

Following the incident, Crowley and Ackerman jointly called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reexamine the danger to the Queens community caused by the construction of a trash transfer station near the airport through an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act. At the urging of Crowley and Ackerman, in 2010 the FAA agreed to implement an unprecedented bird strike prevention plan to prevent collisions between birds and airplanes for the trash transfer station. Under this plan, an increase in bird activity would require the FAA to order the garbage transfer facility to be shut down. The U.S. Department of Transportation agreed to prescribe the safeguards after the two lawmakers met with LaHood.

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