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Queens Chronicle

Court rejects Friends of LaGuardia Airport appeal on trash transfer station

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:34 pm | Updated: 2:48 pm, Thu Apr 11, 2013.

A appeals court has rejected a request from Friends of LaGuardia Airport to review federal recommendations for construction of a 100-foot-high garbage transfer station near the end of the airport’s Runway 31.

In a 17-page opinion issued Tuesday, Senior District Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit wrote that the court does not have the jurisdiction to review a Sept. 2, 2010 letter from the Federal Aviation Administration to the city that recommended changes to the design of the building and its methods of operation.

Ken Paskar, the lead plaintiff in the case, said Thursday that the court did not rule on the merits of the FOLA’s request for review, one year after a separate panel of judges on the Second Circuit ruled that there was jurisdiction.

He said the group is considering asking the court to reconsider its ruling.

The transfer station is located in College Point, 2,026 feet across Flushing Bay from  Runway 31, and 585 feet from the center line of the runway’s path were it extended across the bay.

It is a key element of Mayor Bloomberg’s five-borough citywide trash removal program.

Paskar and Friends of LaGuardia Airport assert that the facility will attract birds looking to feed on garbage and on the rats that they say will be attracted to the building and the barge site.

They fear that an accumulation of birds near the end of one of the busiest runways in the world could cause aircraft bird strikes like the one that brought down a US Airways jet in January 2009.

Impact from a flock of migratory Canada geese not from Flushing Bay destroyed both engines on the plane at 3,000 feet shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia.

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, a Air Force veteran with glider experience, and copilot Jeff Skiles eased the crippled jet down in the Hudson River with no loss of life.

Sullenberger has made a public service announcement critical of the station’s placement.

The FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation have ruled that the transfer station will not pose a hazard should the city adopt practices to mitigate odors and the access of wildlife to the garbage.

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