Reporting Marcia Kramer
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Captain “Sully” has a message for the mayor.
The “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot says putting a garbage transfer station near LaGuardia Airport is a terrible idea, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger the keys to New York City after he ditched his plane in the Hudson River after a bird strike, saving all 155 people on board. On Tuesday, Sullenberger repaid the mayor with a piece of advice.
“Putting a trash facility this close to one of the busiest runways in the nation just doesn’t make sense. It’s really a terrible idea. It should be put much farther away,” said Sullenberger, now CBS News’ aviation expert.
Sullenberger said the city should just move the College Point Marine Transfer Station because garbage attracts birds — lots of birds — and not just the Canada geese that flew into the engine of his plane, US Airways Flight 1549, back in January of 2009.
“Even an enclosed facility is going to attract birds,” Sullenberger said.
However, the city said it is doing everything to ensure that the transfer station is safe, including:
* Installing anti-perching devices
* Enforcing a strict “no feeding wildlife” policy
* Eliminating landscaping that attracts birds
* Hiring a full-time marine biologist to deal with any bird problems that develop
“This facility is fully compatible with airport safety,” said Cas Holloway, the head of the NYC Department of Environmental Conservation. “And that’s because the mitigation measures that the city is going to put in place are really going to make it so that birds aren’t really going to be an issue there.
But Sullenberger dismisses the city’s effort as just a Band-Aid that will be hard to keep in place in an imperfect and “messy” world.
“There will be some trash that will be spilled. It may not be cleaned up right away. Birds are smart and they’ll learn that there’s a source of food there,” Sullenberger said.
Meanwhile, Randy Mastro, the lawyer for the group raising safety concerns, is demanding that the state pull the city’s building permit because it was issued before the bird strike crippled the plane went down in the Hudson.
Adding to the furor, Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Joseph Crowley demanded Tuesday that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood do his own investigation of the project.
Who do you believe, Capt. “Sully” or the mayor? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.