December 18, 2014
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Lingering questions about the airport

To the Editor:

Many of us in Warwick expected a better relationship with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) after the City Council approved the Memorandum of Agreement on the runway extension. But, things seem to be going the other way.

Here’s what I get when I visit the Rhode Island Airport Corporations (RIAC’s) noise monitoring site: The "WebScene Console" reports that it is "Unable to get requested flight data. Please try later."

The Airport Corporation has been having problems with its noise program since July 26, 2011. That's when its data collection system failed. Yet, it called for a required semi-annual noise hearing three months ago, five months after the failure. Airport management used old data in its presentation. The July failure was not noted.

The Airport Corporation will hold another noise hearing this Friday, March 23 only three months after the previous hearing. The data being presented ends on July 26, 2011, just days into the quarter's reporting period. The noise report notes that the data collection system has failed.

Perhaps worse, the meeting notice for the new hearings has been pulled from the airport's website. There is no way for the public to find the times or dates unless they saved the advertisements published weeks ago. Here are the details:

The Friday, March 23, 2012, hearing will be at the Airport Corporation's Board Room at T.F. Green Airport at 12:00 p.m. - obviously not a convenient time. But airport management will validate parking tickets for those who choose to attend. Another hearing is scheduled for the Hall Library in Cranston for Monday, March 26, 2012, at 12:30 p.m. Why are both hearings in the middle of the workday?

Why is this broken data collection system an issue? The new agreement between the Airport Corporation and the City of Warwick calls for additional environmental monitoring. How can we trust the airport to do additional monitoring when it can't get its existing noise program straight? There is something quite bizarre about all of this.

There is more. The people of Warwick have now been waiting for months for the glycol plant hearing to be called. The agreement between the airport and the city should hinge on that upcoming hearing. However, there has been difficulty in the scheduling of that hearing. When will it occur?

Richard Langseth
Executive Director, Greenwich Bay Watershed Group
Warwick


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