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Tue, Feb 02, 2010

NYC Garbage Facility Gets FAA Blessing Despite Objections

Observations To Confirm New Plant Is Not Attracting Birds

The FAA payroll will expand to include a bird-counting USDA biologist when the new NY North Shore Marine Transfer Station (MTS) opens in 2012.  The new garbage transfer station is about 2,000 ft from LGA and opponents fear it could cause an increase in birds--and bird strikes.

These increased safety measures are the first of its kind for any garbage facility in the United States. The plan has been agreed to by the Department of Sanitation (NYDS) through a memorandum of understanding with the FAA. If any increases in bird activity are noticed by the USDA biologist, the FAA will order the MTS to be shut down while the situation is investigated.

The FAA indicated the facility would not pose a hazard as the garbage will arrive at the indoor facility in enclosed trucks and depart the station sealed inside cargo containers.  The only potential concern was the building's height, which was decreased from 110 to 100 ft.

Map showing LGA and MTS

NY Representatives Gary Ackerman and Joseph Crowley have led an opposition movement against the transfer station for the past three years, based on concerns about bird strikes.  Although they applauded the FAA's plan, they still have doubts as to the impact to local bird populations.

"Just days after the one year anniversary of the 'Miracle on the Hudson,' bird strikes remain a real threat to the neighborhoods surrounding LaGuardia Airport as well as to millions of airline passengers each year," said Crowley. "The FAA's bird strike prevention plan is a positive step towards averting a future accident, but the Department of Sanitation should take additional steps to ensure the safety of this facility."

File Photo: birds on runway

"We hope this significant concession we secured will ensure increased safety to the flying public and to the communities near the airport," said Ackerman.

There was no bird mitigation plan or outcry over the older facility that MTS will replace.  It operated in the same location off the end of LGA runway 31 for 50 years.



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