The Bedford Minuteman
January 17, 2002
I would like to make two comments regarding the facts reported in the recent Recap of Bedford 2001 (Jan 3rd 2002 issue). These comments pertain to Bedford's Hanscom-related "air battles".
In the section of his Bedford 2001 retrospective devoted to Hanscom, Mr. Bombard reports that the Bedford Selectmen originally opted out of joining Lexington, Concord and Lincoln in appealing the FAA decision regarding LaGuardia flights out of Hanscom, because they wanted to keep open the lines of communication with the Connecticut-based airline Shuttle America. The fact of the matter is that the Bedford selectmen opted to sidestep litigation with the aim of maintaining friendly dialogue with Massport. It has become all too clear since the release of the Carter Commission Report that Massport is a patronage-laden, irresponsible, mismanaged agency that needs to be massively reorganized for the benefit of Logan and Hanscom area communities alike. The people of Bedford were wise to demand an assertive litigative stance with Massport rather than rely upon the selectmen to play nice with these bureaucrats. As long as the balance of power between Massport and the airport-affected towns is way out of whack, Bedford must use ANY means, including litigation, to protect itself and its conservation land from being overwhelmed by noise and jet pollution.
Mr. Bombard also gives extremely short shrift to the "failed" FAA appeal of October 2001. The people of Bedford deserve to know that as a result of this appeal process, some very strong gains were made in the courtroom. The Federal Court recognized and confirmed two essential points:
a) The FAA's amendment of an airline's operations specifications to add more flights to an airport is "an undertaking", and is therefore subject to review under the National Historic Preservation Act.
b) The incremental, cumulative impact of additional FAA approvals of new flights to Hanscom could result in harm to historic sites.
Because Bedford joined the other petitioners in pursuing this federal initiative, these issues have now been clarified in the eyes of the FAA, Massport and the airlines. We have sent the message that the town of Bedford will NEVER sit idly by as Massport pursues its ambitious expansion plans for Hanscom. We will challenge any action that threatens Bedford's Town Forest conservation land and the airways and roadways of Americas's premier national historical park.
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