Aviation Pollution Out of Control

Federal Standards Fail to Capture the Health and Environmental Effects of Toxic Chemicals, Noise, and Emissions

Lexington, Massachusetts, January 22, 2003

Millions who live near airports experience every day the noise pollution, ground pollution, and air pollution generated by the aviation industry. In one of the most serious cases of environmental degradation of our time, the quality of life in thousands of communities is being damaged by a remarkably powerful industry…with little governmental regulation in sight.

In TAKE BACK THE SKY: THE COMMUNITY QUEST FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE AVIATION, business professor and best-selling author Rae André takes on the complex issue of aviation expansion and points out exactly how aviation pollution remains uncontrolled. TAKE BACK THE SKY is a guide to the laws, community impacts, and political realities surrounding the expansion of small and large airports nationwide.

Michael S. Dukakis, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Amtrak and former Governor of Massachusetts, says of André’s book, “We have spent far too much time in this country fighting endless battles over airport expansion and far too little investing in the kind of high-speed rail that can solve the problem. Rae André is one of the first to address this issue and she does it well.”

Noted national advocate Jack Saporito, currently the Executive Director of the Alliance of Residents Concerning O’Hare, comments, “TAKE BACK THE SKY shows the inner workings of the airport expansionists. It is important because the aviation industry is so powerful that communities must work together. It brings in so many very interesting details that even an expert can learn from it.”

Les Blomberg, Executive Director of the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse in Montpelier, Vermont, argues, “Noise and carcinogens rain down on communities, destroying the quality of life. The aviation industry promotes the noisiest, dirtiest and most inefficient mode of transportation and billions of taxpayer dollars each year subsidize it. It is time to take back our skies, and our dollars, to invest in transportation that is quieter, cleaner, more efficient and more community friendly. Rae André’s blueprint for more livable communities and more sustainable transportation alternatives is a must read for anyone concerned about peace and quiet."

Air pollution around airports causes cancer, allergies and asthma, yet aviation is continually subsidized by the federal government. Noise pollution from planes causes high blood pressure and other stress symptoms, even in children, yet airports are not required to meet even the noise standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Aviation emissions are the fastest growing source of the pollution that causes global warming, yet they receive far more federal subsidies than rail.

What can be done? In TAKE BACK THE SKY Rae André draws on the expertise of scientists, community activists, and legal experts nationwide to make the case for a multimodal transportation system that is environmentally sustainable. In the face of the remarkably powerful special interest groups in aviation, she suggests how communities can achieve more local control.

Dr. Rae André is Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory in the College of Business Administration at Northeastern University, where her recent research has focused on business-government relations for economic development. She is a member of the Board of Directors of ShhAir (Safeguarding the Historic Hanscom Area’s Irreplaceable Resources). Her books have been published by several major publishers in eight languages.

TAKE BACK THE SKY is available in softcover and hardcover editions at all major on-line retailers, including (1-877-823-9236),,, and

The softcover ISBN Number is 0-595-26193-0. The hardcover ISBN Number is 0-595-65549-1. No free review copies are available, but the full text can be reviewed online at Bulk discounts for groups can be arranged through the author. Rae André can be reached online at

Media Contact:

Rae André
College of Business Administration
Northeastern University
Boston MA 02115