October 20, 2014
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Only logical to question airport study

To the Editor:

"Air quality monitoring"?

I certainly hope the airport litigation committee is also addressing mitigation measures concerning the statistically significant cancer cluster abutting the airport that includes 7 contiguous census tracts based on the 2000 Census.

The fact that no follow-up study has apparently been done since the 2010 Census data became available is a grave public concern. Air quality monitoring does not mitigate cancer clusters.

How can anyone be allowed to consider expanding an airport located in the heart of a densely residential land use area, with a statistically significant cancer cluster surrounding it, without first applying due consideration and due care to addressing the existing problem?

It appears the state has done its best to sweep this grave situation (and other valid public concerns, like a failure to conduct a thorough cost/benefit analysis during the pre-planning stage) under the rug as it continues to aggressively promote this project. During the federal airport planning process, the state, through its agent, the RI Airport Corporation, actually condoned ceasing to address valid citizen concerns within the pre-planning phase. They officially elected to cease pre-planning and moved into the FAA EIS process in spite of the protests and appeals made by the Warwick mayor, the City Council, and the entire group of Citizen Stakeholder representatives serving on the Study Resource Committee (SRC).

Now, in response to the FAA Record of Decision (ROD), which represents the product of this contested EIS process, the City Council has chosen to follow FAA's own guidelines, which allow for a legal challenge of the ROD in federal court. For the first time, federal authorities on the highest level, will thoroughly review our situation, and decide if the process addressed all of the concerns it should have according to federal expectations. If the airport planning process stands up to expert scrutiny, there should be nothing to worry about. If there are problems with the ROD, they will have to be addressed.

Although publicly requested, there never was a thorough Loss / Benefit study done during the pre-planning phase of this federal airport planning process. That is not something to be dismissed by a City Council, or a subsidiary public corporation (RIAC) of another subsidiary corporation (EDC) of the State of Rhode Island, a governor, or a state treasurer. A review of this federal airport planning process is the sole domain of the Federal Courts. It is done by a legal challenge of the FAA Record of Decision. That is what is before us. It became a federal issue when adherence to federal regulations came into question during the federal airport planning process. It could have been avoided. Those in charge of the pre-planning process made the decisions to try to avoid applying due consideration and due care to the valid, expressed considerations and concerns of an entire stakeholder group. It is only logical to question the results of a study that appears based on incomplete or manipulated data. Let the federal authorities do their job.

Raleigh Jenkins
Warwick


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