Westchester County Airport Expansion- March 18, 2016

Westchester County Airport (WCA) was built during the 1940s  as a small airport for National Guard use. By the early 1980s it had grown so much - as a mostly general aviation airport with some commercial flights - that the noise impact from the flights was affecting residents for miles around the airport.  A voluntary legal agreement between the County and the airlines was reached to put limits on the commercial flights and the size of the terminal, which has been in effect since that time. It has been responsible for limiting the uncontrolled growth of WCA, and has been a crucial tool in protecting Westchester's environmental quality by preventing - or mitigating- the significant (often overwhelming) air pollution, water pollution and noise impacts caused by large airports all across the country. 


This Conversation on Conservation discussed the proposed changes to the airport passenger limitations, the history of the work that has gone into keeping the size of Westchester County Airport under control, and the concerns surrounding the environmental impacts of any changes to the current law.

Speakers included:
Peter Scherrer  Westchester County Airport Manager outlined the proposed changes to the airport passenger limitations
Carolyn Cunningham, a retired environmental lawyer and Board member of the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, spoke on the the history of the work that has gone into keeping the size of Westchester County Airport under control and of the need for a full environmental review before any changes to the current law should be changed. 
Ted Anderson, Airport Committee Chairman for the Sierra Club Lower Hudson Chapter, addressed air and water pollution concerns related to airports, and emphasized the slippery slope of changing any part of the current terminal use agreement at the Westchester County Airport.
Catherine Park, Westchester Legislator, updated the crowd on proposed legislation for a plastic bag ban for Westchester County.
George Klein, Vice Chair of Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group discussed the proximity of the Westchester County Airport to the Kensico Reservoir and the issues that may cause.