Crowley, Queens Leaders Cry Fowl Over Proposed Construction of 100ft Garbage Tower at LGA

March 17, 2009
Press Release

Queens, NY —In light of recent bird-strike incidents at La Guardia Airport (LGA), including the crash of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, Congressman Crowley held a press conference Sunday with community leaders from Queens to blast the proposed construction of a Marine Transfer Station (MTS) within the La Guardia Airport (LGA) runway safety zone.  By increasing garbage in the area, the MTS could increase the likelihood of bird-strikes at the already crowded airport, endangering passengers and surrounding neighborhoods.  Additionally, neighborhood streets would see increased crowding and pollution from incoming trucks en route to the MTS.  Rosemarie Povoromo from United Community Civic Association and Giovanna Reid from Queens Community Board 3 joined Congressman Crowley at the Marine Air Terminal Rotunda to protest the City of New York's plans to move the project forward.

"A 110 foot garbage tower at the end of a La Guardia runway is an invitation for disaster," said Congressman Crowley.  "Increased trash around our airport means an increased bird population and that means an increased risk of another bird-strike.  The safe landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 was a miracle, but we cannot afford to run the risk of another emergency landing, especially since the area around the airport is so densely populated.  Unless the City can guarantee a 100% fail-safe system, they need to select a safer location for the proposed MTS.  The community leaders in the La Guardia neighborhood and I would like to sit down with the City immediately to find a more appropriate location to ensure the safety of our community."

Congressman Crowley and other members of the Queens delegation objected to the proposal as far back as 2006 (full text of letter below).  Congressman Crowley is a member of the exclusive House Committee on Ways and Means.

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BACKGROUND: Full text of letter from Queens delegation blasting construction of Marine Transfer Station at La Guardia Airport

October 23, 2006

The Honorable Marion C. Blakey
Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, S.W. Suite 1010
Washington, DC 20591

Dear Administrator Blakey:

            We are writing in response to a Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation, Aeronautical Study No. 2004-AEA-3159-OE of September 18, 2006, regarding the proposed construction of a Marine Transfer Station by the New York City Department of Sanitation just outside LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York.

            We would like to express our opinion that constructing a 110-foot tower approximately 1900 feet from the end of a busy runway in the midst of one of the most densely populated cities in the world is, at best, foolhardy.  Common sense dictates that a different location nowhere near the airport would be more suitable for this project.  We agree with the concerns raised by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and support its view that constructing the Marine Transfer Station at this location needlessly endangers the flying public and citizens living in the surrounding area.

            On January 28, 2005, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined that the project was “presumed to be a hazard to air navigation.” However, on September 18, 2006, without any change to the proposal, the administration determined that the Marine Transfer Station posed “no hazard to air navigation.” We would like to inquire, and for the FAA to disclose, what considerations were made that prompted this change in the determination over the past year.  In the meantime, we insist in the strongest possible terms that the FAA support the position of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the interest of aviation safety and the well-being of the American public.

            The FAA has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the flying public and the surrounding communities of LaGuardia Airport.  We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to your prompt reply.                                                       

Sincerely,                

GARY L. ACKERMAN                                              CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress

ANTHONY D. WEINER                                            JOSEPH CROWLEY
Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress                    

GREGORY W. MEEKS
Member of Congress