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Environmental Mess – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, June 26, 2014

Dear David:

Hundreds of documented complaints from every sector of the region. Eight hundred seventy-three recorded operations at the airport over Memorial Day weekend — approximately one every four minutes during the peak period of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., all daylight hours, basically.

Who signed up for this? How has our little municipal airport out in the woods become a major regional commercial hub? For as bad as helicopters are, 36 percent of this year’s Memorial Day complaints were for non-helicopter operations.

And what of the air pollution generated by tons and tons of exhaust? Why do airport operators get a pass on this, when all reputable scientists agree that climate change is not to be ignored?

Now, to garner UpIsland votes, the calculating politicians Schumer and Bishop, in league with the helicopter operators, are actually proposing an “all-water route” around Orient Point and over Gardiner’s Bay. There is no such thing as an “all-water route” to a landlocked airport.

And there is no such thing as “mitigating” helicopter noise. It is even louder over nonabsorbent water than over land, and the route is only one mile offshore, not at all out of earshot. So we will ruin the beautiful and quiet bay experience for boaters and beachgoers and homeowners the length of Long Island? We will turn Gardiner’s Bay and our region’s nature-reserve woods and beaches into a helicopter flight path?

Though the proposed path will greatly improve my family’s and neighbors’ horrific current experience, this is hardly a “solution.” No, the solution to this unwanted environmental mess is to eliminate helicopters (and other commercial traffic) from our airport — or close the airport and return our region to the pristine natural place that once made it special.

BARRY RAEBECK

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