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Big Brother on Capitol Hill

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Two Queens electeds have persuaded the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation that would block plans to build a waste transfer station in College Point. We are concerned with this legislation on a number of levels.

First, it is an attempt to use Congress to stop something that has city and state approval. The legislation passed the House unanimously. We suspect this happened because the members of Congress could care less what we do with our trash as long as we do not dump it in their districts. The members routinely support bills targeted at a specific district without thought or debate. In some cases, they do not even read the legislation before they vote on it.

Second, the sponsors of this bill, U.S. Reps. Gary Ackerman and Joseph Crowley, do not offer an alternative plan. They say they are concerned about the 3,000 tons of garbage taken out of the city by barge each day. They note the College Point project would be constructed just 2,000 feet from the nearest runway at LaGuardia Airport. They contend the sea gulls drawn to the garbage could create hazards for incoming aircraft.

But the Federal Aviation Administration and Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which manages the airport, have approved the transfer site. They concluded the site would not threaten planes taking off from and arriving at LaGuardia. Nevertheless, in the wake of US Airways Flight 1549’s crash landing in the Hudson River after a bird strike in January, city, state and federal politicians have opposed the city’s plan. As scary as it was, the landing was a miracle.

With apologies to College Point residents, we cannot think of a better alternative site in Queens to build the transfer station. We are sure Douglaston and Little Neck residents do not want to see a transfer station built on Little Neck Bay. Other waterfronts are equally close to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Likewise, there is no place to build a landfill in Queens. So we ask Congress: If the transfer station cannot be built in College Point, where should it be built?

Bottom line: We are uncomfortable with the effort to use Congress to micromanage city affairs.

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