Speak Out Against JFK Runway Expansion Into Gateway National Park
Environmentalists Speak Out Against JFK Runway Expansion Into Gateway National Park
Who: Representatives from dozens of environmental, recreational, civic groups, agency and elected officials as well as members of the fishing and boating community.
What: Town Hall Meeting Speaking Out Against Port Authority Proposal
Where: American Legion Hall – 209 Crossbay Blvd. Broad Channel (718) 474 -5029
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7th, 2011
The Jamaica Bay Task Force Group is hosting its first meeting to respond to the highly controversial report by the Regional Plan Association (RPA) which calls for the destruction of up to four hundred acres of wetlands in Gateway National Park located in Jamaica Bay to accommodate runway expansion at JFK Airport. An act of Congress would be required to make this unprecedented change to a National Park
Such an expansion of JFK would have unacceptable adverse impacts on Jamaica Bay, irreversibly harming what is not simply New York City’s ecological crown jewel but a wetlands and estuarine area of national importance. Hundreds of acres of the Bay would need to be permanently filled in something currently prohibited by federal law.
Jamaica Bay encompasses more than 25, 000 acres of water, marsh, meadowland, beaches, dunes and forests in Brooklyn and Queens, all accessible by subway. It contains a federal wildlife refuge the size of 10 Central Parks. It provides nursery and foraging, habitat for the region’s fisheries and other marine life. Bay waters adjacent to JFK are renowned for some of the region’s best fishing for bluefish and striped bass — and is a critical bird habitat area that is visited annually by what is estimated to be nearly 20 percent of North America’s bird species. It is also home to various endangered and threatened species – from sea turtles to peregrine falcons. Intrusive commercial jet noise would potentially increase Wildlife conflicts with aviation safety. Water pollution from the airport – which currently discharges run-off from the millions of gallons of toxic de-icing fluids used each winter directly into the Bay – would likely increase.
Dozens of environmental, recreational, and civic groups are vehemently opposed to this plan. On March 17, a letter was sent to Port Authority Executive Director Christopher O. Ward to voice their strong opposition (see attached). The groups are asking that the Port Authority consider other available alternatives for meeting the region’s airport capacity needs. The letter was signed by 21 groups.
The report,”Upgrading to World Class – The future of the New York Regions Airports” http://www.rpa.org/pdf/RPA-Upgrading-to-World-Class.pdf (pages 150-154) was funded by the Port Authority and developed by a consortium of major federal, state, city and county government stakeholders. No local environmental input was sought.
From NYC Park Advocates Inc. – a non-profit, non-partisan watchdog group dedicated to restoring public funding, improving public parks, increasing public recreation programs, expanding open space and accessibility, and achieving the equitable distribution of these vital services in New York City for all. It is the only non-profit park advocacy group dedicated to all City, State and Federal parkland in New York City.
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