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Wed, Aug 25, 2004

O'Hare Expansion Critics File Protest

Say Plan Doesn't Pass Legal Sniff Test

Opponents to Chicago's multi-billion dollar expansion plans for O'Hare Airport say the FAA should look at the big picture. Now, they've filed an official objection with the government, hoping to prove their point.

The Chicago Tribune reports lawyers for residents in Bensenville and Elk Grove Village (IL) have filed a 36-page protest, telling the FAA that it is legally bound to reject plans to expand taxiways and build a new runway at O'Hare.

"It's the first time that a formal objection has been filed with the FAA," said Robert Cohn, an attorney with Shaw Pittman LLP, and co-author of the letter. He was speaking with reporters from the Tribune.

Looking at the big picture, according to opponents of the expansion plan, means looking at the overall impact on both Bensenville and Elk Grove Village, rather than examining one aspect at a time, as is usually the case. Using current methods, critics argue, would allow the city to destroy cemeteries and homes before the project receives final approval. If the whole project is turned down, they say, hundreds of people would still lose their property and the gravesites of their loved ones.

"[T]he destruction of the communities and the religious properties will have needlessly occurred with the FAA's full knowledge, concurrence and assistance," the attorneys wrote in their protest letter.

FMI: www.ohare.com/ohare/home.asp

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