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AReCO in the News


Date: July 13, 2005



Saporito: FAA Shouldn't Be Making Pollution Statements


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is just plain wrong when it says air quality at O'Hare Airport is acceptable, O'Hare modernization
critic Jack Saporito said this week.

Saporito's organizations - the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare and Mothers Against Airport Pollution (AReCO and MAAP) have been severe and consistent critics of O'Hare expansion for years. But in this latest situation, Saporito used some of his sharpest words yet in his long
battle against pollution at the airport.

Saporito sent a statement to area media, blasting a recent FAA "determination" that O'Hare air quality legally meets state standards
for public safety.

An air quality contractor reportedly prepared a Draft General Conformity Determination for the O'Hare Modernization Impact Statement, allegedly
claiming that O'Hare's air meets IEPA safety standards.

"The FAA is an aviation organization but now it is making significant determinations about air pollution, which I thought was the Environmental Protection Agency's job," Saporito said.

"O'Hare emits about as much pollution as a medium-sized city, directly affecting the health of millions of people," Saporito said. "The FAA is
failing to protect the health and general welfare of those people, especially those downwind of the airport, especially in the City of Chicago.

The public's health is in serious jeopardy," he went on. "Our children, the elderly, and infirmed need to be protected."

He accused the FAA of "rushing into" O'Hare expansion before the IEPA creates an action plan to deal with ozone and fine particulate matter.
"There is no current plan to implement a program for limiting Chicago-Area ozone and fine particulate matter emissions," he said.  "The FAA interprets this to mean there is therefore no significant ozone and particulate issue," Saporito said. "Indeed, there is a serious issue and the FAA's and Chicago's attempt to just wave it off, in the hope that massive expansion can be hurriedly put in place before the IEPA creates a plan, is totally unacceptable."

There are "huge" inconsistencies between the O'Hare plan's airport emissions data, he said, and IEPA data. "We reject acceptance of these
FAA and IEPA numbers, until our FAA-rejected request for an independent third party audit is satisfied.

"This FAA "determination" assumes O'Hare flight operations will only increase by about 20 percent (up to 1.2 million operations per year), yet the newly configured airport would have a maximum capacity exceeding 2 million operations annually, with no controls in place to prevent that level of operations," he said.

"The IEPA is either ignorant of airport pollution levels, or something nefarious and highly political is going on," Saporito said.