Reporting Marcia Kramer
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s being viewed by many as a bird-brained idea from city and federal officials, putting a garbage transfer station right in the flight path of planes flying to and from LaGuardia Airport — one that could put them on a collision course with engine-clogging fowl.
The College Point Transfer Station hasn’t been built yet, but planes taking off from LaGuardia Airport will have to fly right over the proposed 100-foot high structure. And when there’s actual garbage it will attract birds because garbage dumps are bird magnets.
“Locating a city garbage transfer station that will attract on the end of an airport runway is a monumentally stupid idea that is a disaster waiting to happen,” attorney Randy Mastro told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
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Mastro, who represents opposition group “Friends of LaGuardia Airport” and is suing to get the project stopped, points to the near disaster of US Airways Flight 1549. Piloted by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane it was downed by Canada geese flying into the engines.
“We already had one miracle on the Hudson from bird strikes. The public has a right to expect more of its government officials in protesting public safety than that they leave our safety to another miracle,” said Mastro, a former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani.
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The thing that apparently made the city project possible, Mastro said, is that the Federal Aviation Administration quietly and secretly shrunk the size of the safety zone around LaGuardia so the facility could be built just outside its new border — a stone’s throw from the end of runway 31.
“Somebody stop it, protect the public against this disaster waiting to happen,” Mastro said.
“Nobody thinks that it’s going to attract geese. Geese are a real problem, but they are a problem wherever you have water so we don’t think, the FAA doesn’t think, that there’s anything dangerous about it,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Sanitation officials said they’re not worried about Canada geese being attracted to their facility because they eat greens, not garbage. But they said nothing about gulls, sparrows, pigeons and other birds who regard garbage as a fast-food treat.
The FAA did not return calls seeking comment.
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