Your Voice Is Heard
It was resolved at the June monthly meeting, that ARCO withdraw its support for the proposed third airport at Peotone. It was a difficult decision to make, since ARCO's support of Peotone was called "critical" by the Department of Transportation.
It was decided to unlink the two issues of Peotone Airport and O'Hare relief for many reasons. The main reason is because of a loss of trust of state officials. IDOT Secretary Kirk Brown's letter to ARCO declared that "Noise impacts must be reduced...a new commercial air carrier airport to provide additional capacity must be built...an additional runway at O'Hare is needed to reduce delays." This was the first we had heard that all three items must be linked together. Obviously, we cannot support another runway.
Brown's letter was in stark contrast to his reply to a question that ARCO asked him at a Greater O'Hare Association meeting. At the meeting, after he spoke about the need for the business community to support a new runway, ARCO asked him if the state was for more flights at O'Hare. He answered, "Yes." His letter stated that "Our (state) support of a new runway...is contingent on a restriction of increased operations." Not only did he contradict his statement to ARCO, but he and the governor were also aware that federal law allows no permanent binding restriction on runway usage.
Officials, including Governor Edgar, are aware of the serious health and safety problems associated with O'Hare overcrowding within a fifty (50) mile radius of the airport. ARCO provided them with overwhelming documentation.
For those reasons and the following, ARCO members voted overwhelmingly to revoke our support of a proposed Peotone Airport site.
Additional problems include the site location itself, also the proposed airport is incorrectly configured, plus it would be built in a populated area.
As a result, ARCO called on SOC to reconsider their support of the proposed Peotone site. While acknowledging that a mode of transportation will be needed in the near future, ARCO feels it is not its task to support a specific alternative. It is ARCO's duty to protect the community by strongly objecting to any proposal that would bring more flights into O'Hare Airport. ARCO believes that supporting Peotone clouds the issue and does not grant us the "permanent, meaningful relief" that Governor Edgar, and other officials have promised us. *
Some of ARCO's objectives/accomplishments are:
Working with the medical/educational community to bring change, regarding airport air and noise pollution. *
ARCO has won a semisweet battle to get the LDN noise contours lowered to ~55 in order for us to get noise pollution relief in a 25-30 mile radius of O'Hare. Details for their plan are being worked out by the FAA and an outline should be released in October. Look for some details to be published in the September Federal Register. *
ARCO demands O'Hare observe Ozone alerts
Chicago is one of the worst cities with respect to air quality. Chicago's O'Hare Airport is one of the worst 20 air polluters and the world's worst noise polluter. So when an Ozone Action Alert calls for communities to restrict automobile, lawn mowers, machinery and other outdoor activities, shouldn't O'Hare comply with these restrictions also?
Observations indicated that O'Hare wasn't complying, ARCO stepped in. In a petition to Illinois Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, ARCO called for O'Hare to curtail operations on Ozone Alert Days.
What makes the pollution problem worse at the "World's Busiest Airport"? Besides the unprecedented volume of ground and air traffic and their pollution, O'Hare Airport is allowed to emit pollutants banned in other industries. Those carcinogen pollutants include an annual estimated 25 tons of benzene, 21 tons of 1.3-Butadiene and 140 tons of formaldehyde.
Additionally, "Idling and taxiing planes at airports can create as much or more volatile organic compounds... as the largest industrial sources like factories, incinerators or power plants," stated Ms. Stenzel, Researcher for the Natural Resources Defense Council. O'Hare Airport creates tons of volatile organic compounds, which are known to cause serious health problems, especially for the elderly, sick or young.
ARCO believes that Hi-Speed Rail will be a better environmental solution to increased travel, rather than more flights.
Editor's note: Watch for future issues re: O'Hare Pollution in Flight Tracks.
This legislative session -- HB 1471 Amendment
At the end of the Illinois legislative session, ARCO was asked to back legislation that would give suburban O'Hare communities control of sound-proofing and sound monitoring funds. ARCO agreed to back the legislation if it would include money for health/noise studies. Although we fought hard this session for a runway ban and other issues, ARCO agreed that this bill could provide the additional scientific evidence to finally initiate action by Gov. Edgar.
The bill broke down in the last days as a result of United Airlines wanting Chicago to pay a menial amount for the funding and that the city of Chicago would have control of all operations. Something that the Suburban O'Hare Commission and ARCO could not agree to.
Who has been helping us...
In the next few issues and meetings, we will discuss which legislators were responsive to our needs, and those who were not.
Those who have been most responsive include: Senate President Pate Philip, Sen. Marty Butler and US Rep. Henry Hyde. ARCO also wants to thank their aides for all their effort and support.
We also want to mention those who were not responsive to date. Many said that O'Hare's economic growth is more important than our needs. Rep. Bernard Pedersen has not responded to ARCO's many requests, even though ARCO is headquartered in his district.*
Did you know...
The FAA is giving money to communities to expand existing airports such as Palwaukee. They plan to increase flights to 350,000 per year--the same as Midway Airport!
The effects O'Hare overcrowding has on our elementary school-aged children is devastating.
"Psychophysiological stress processes linked to coronary heart disease; central cognitive processes, including speech perception, memory, and basic reading skills; motivation; and emotional affect are all associated with chronic exposure to (airport) noise among children." (Evans, Hygge, Bullinger, 1995) *
(ARCO meetings -- Heritage Park is located at Fernandez and Victoria in Arlington Heights, IL)
24 Hour Noise Hotline
Whenever noise affects your quality of life, call this Hotline:
Note: ARCO Flight Tracks is published by the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare, Inc. If you would like to become a member, or recieve our newsletter, call, or write to the address below. Annual membership is only $10.00 per household. Comments and questions should be sent to:
PO Box 1702
Arlington Heights, IL 60006-1702