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Critics Of New York Garbage Plant Concerned With Airplane-Bird Threat

New Facility Is Less Than Half Mile From LGA’s Runway 31

Critics of a garbage transfer station less than a half mile from LaGuardia’s runway 31 petitioned a federal appeals court to force the city to defend itself against claims of an increased bird strike hazard. Attorneys for the FAA and a group called Friends of LaGuardia Airport Inc. gave arguments in front of a three judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but there was no immediate ruling.

The Associated Press reports that the issue landed in appeals court after the FAA determined the North Shore Marine Transfer Station is not a hazard to New York’s airspace. The FAA has said if the facility became a threat it could force changes through the airport’s operator or by modifying flight procedures to ensure safety. Friends of LaGuardia argued bird collisions similar to those which brought down US Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009 could occur again. The Associated Press reported that Randy Mastro, the group’s attorney said outside court “It is ultimately about the birds.”

The FAA prohibits garbage facilities within 2,500 feet of the ends of most runways at major airports. The protected zone can be as small as 1,700 feet when runways such as those at LaGuardia have rules limiting landings during bad weather. The facility is located 2,200 feet from the end of runway 31 at LGA.

The North Shore transfer station is scheduled to open next year. After the US Airways accident the city agreed to install bird spikes to keep birds from perching on the transfer station. It also eliminated ledges on the building as well as taking other steps to scare away birds.

FMI: www.friendsoflga.org

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