The following letter appeared in the Bedford Minuteman, Lexington Minuteman, Concord Journal and Lincoln Journal on September 26, 2002.
To the editor:
Corporate jets are by far the largest source of noise at Hanscom Field. The staggering growth of jet operations - from just under 9,600 in 1995 to an anticipated 32,000 this year - subjects more and more people to more and more noise. This is a matter of great concern, not only to those currently affected, but to the many more who will be affected in the future if Massport has its way.
In fact, Massport's draft Environmental Status and Planning Report (ESPR) predicts a major increase in noise impacts. According to the ESPR's 2015 "high growth" scenario, the number of people exposed to average annual noise levels between 55 and 65 dB will more than double, to 6,470; and the land area exposed to a noise level of 55 dB or more for at least 30 minutes every day will double, to 12,460 acres.
This forecast, alarming as it is, actually understates the case, because it is based on an underestimate of future jet activity. The same scenario projects 55,000 annual corporate jet operations. This is an absurdly low figure. Even if jet traffic were to increase between now and 2015 at only half the 1995-2000 rate, there would be 87,000 operations by 2015. Thus, future noise impacts are likely to be even worse than Massport is willing to admit.
The growth of jet traffic to date could not have occurred without Massport's approval of expanded corporate jet infrastructure (new hangars, etc.), and the ESPR reveals ambitious plans for more such expansion over the next few years. We must make our voices heard in opposition to these plans. It is very important for citizens to come to the MEPA hearing on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. (place to be announced), at which state environmental officials will take public comments on the ESPR. In addition, there is a technical workshop on the noise section of the ESPR this Saturday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m. at Bedford Town Hall. Residents who want to learn more about Massport's claims regarding future noise impacts are urged to attend.
Marty Pepper Aisenberg
Projects Director, Save Our Heritage
Vice President, ShhAir
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