I’ve eavesdropped on quite a number of Sustained Airport Master Plan EIS scoping comments and I’m struck by how high-minded most of them are. They cover the big-ticket items of noise, pollution, schools, property values, crime, etc.
But I want to remind you that you can (and should) also comment on the smaller annoyances that make life that much less pleasurable. For example, the bad effects the plane’s electronics seem to have on all sorts of our devices. This can range from poor radio and TV reception to dropped cell phone calls and disruptions to Wi-Fi networks. These sorts of problems really do drive all of us nuts from time to time. Worse still, these sorts of problems can become far more than just a nuisance. Imagine, for example, that your cell coverage drops during a 911 call or if your Wi-Fi disconnects just as you’re entering an important health care form on-line.
Ironically, these sorts of problems are exactly the kinds of issues that the airline industry should be more than happy to address. Since none of these issues require them to curtail their operations, they really have no adequate response to such nuisances other than to correct them.
Then there is a whole other class of issues that are not so easy to fix, but should definitely be reported. These include: damage to your house’s siding and painted surfaces. Changes to your garden and trees.These are obviously damages caused by airplane exhaust, but they are now occurring at a much greater rate and depth due to the rapid increase in flights. But the point is to document the tangible effects on you and your life on a day to day basis.
And be sure to point out that this is happening -before-any expansion occurs. We all must push back against the notion that the stopping the expansion is the goal. In fact, the airport must be rolled back to fewer than the current number of operations if we are ever to save our communities. So it is up to us to point out that even the status quo is not acceptable.
So: don’t forget to include these sorts of ‘quality of life’ issues when you make your comments. It’s not all about the big-ticket conflicts.