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Queens Chronicle

Meng talks trash and traffic near LGA

Town Hall meeting at Flushing Library on transfer station tonight

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:30 am

Government agencies and opponents of a solid waste transfer station in College Point have been invited to a town hall meeting tonight, Sept. 20, at the Flushing Branch of the Queens Library.

The meeting is being sponsored by Assembly members Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) and state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Whitestone).

The North Shore Marine Transfer Station, currently under construction in College Point, is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s five-borough sanitation plan.

Meng’s office said the officials want to take a look at how the processing of roughly 3,500 tons of garbage per day will affect the noise levels, traffic and economic development in the area surrounding the station.

“The North Shore Marine Transfer Station is going to bring hundreds of trucks to our streets every week and prominent members of the airline industry have raised questions about the safety of the station,” Meng said in a statement issued by her office on Sept. 12.

Government agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Port Authority, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Sanitation have been invited to participate. The PA operates LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.

The location has come under fire from Friends of LaGuardia Airport and aviation safety experts, including “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, for its location within 2,200 feet of the end of Runway 13/31 at LaGuardia, one of the world’s busiest.

FOLA claims the location would attract birds that would be interested in feasting both on the 3,000-plus tons of garbage per day to be processed at the site, and on the rats that would be attracted to the garbage.

Ken Paskar of FOLA said in a telephone interview on Friday morning they have been invited to participate in the panel discussion.

Paskar believes that the location would increase the danger of a midair bird strike similar to the one that almost brought down a US Airways Airbus in 2009.

The jet, flown by Sullenberger and carrying 155 passengers and crew, lost all power to both engines after hitting geese shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia.

Sullenberger and copilot Jeff Skiles were able to bring the plane down in the river west of Manhattan with no loss of life in the landing immediately dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

A bird strike in April also forced a Los Angeles-bound Delta flight to return to Kennedy Airport with 179 on board.

Sullenberger has made a public service announcement opposing the siting. Jim Hall, who served seven years as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board under President Clinton, also is opposed.

Hall, in an interview with the Chronicle this past spring, said this was the first time he could remember that the FAA was authorizing a flight hazard “where one had not previously existed.”

Paskar and FOLA have accused the FAA of violating its own standards when it approved the siting of the trash facility.

Paskar pointed to a recent report issued by the inspector general’s office of the U.S. Department of Transportation which said that the FAA did not always ensure that airports’ procedures for averting bird strikes met federal standards.

“That corroborated what we have been saying,” he said.

The library is at 41-17 Main St. in Flushing. The meeting will start at 6 p.m.

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