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The Record, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2001, North Jersey Section

Air monitor hired to do Teterboro tests
13 towns seek data on pollution risks

By Lisa Goodnight, Staff Writer

Carlstadt – A Princeton-based company will conduct air-quality tests to find out whether aircraft emissions from Teterboro Airport are severe enough to make people in neighboring towns sick.

Environ International Corp., a company that last year put out a report saying people living near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport had "undesirable cancer risks," was hired Wednesday by the Coalition of Public Safety – a group of 13 towns formed with the goal of making Teterboro Airport a quieter and safer neighbor.

Now, the communities need to come up with an estimated $42,000 to pay for the study, which should take 10 to 12 weeks to complete.

"We’re all anxious to do a study by a company that we believe in," said Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, chairman of the 13-town coalition.

Lonegan said Environ was picked over three other companies based on experience. Started in 1982, Environ has domestic offices in seven cities, including Princeton.

The company has worked on 10,000 assignments over the past two decades, Environ’s Steve Washburn said in a seven-page memo to Craig Lahullier, a Carlstadt councilman who serves as the coalition’s co-chairman.

In a preliminary study about O’Hare – one of the nation’s busiest airports – Environ said the airport should be not expanded, "given the massive and widespread impact of O’Hare’s toxic emissions on the health risk of hundreds of thousands of residents in almost 100 metro Chicago communities."

No one from the company attended the meeting, but Washburn’s memo about how the Teterboro study would unfold was circulated. In it, the company outlined a testing procedure, methods, and what pollutants they would test for.

Washburn’s memo said he would oversee the project and that the final report would estimate potential human health risks.

"I support it," said Moonachie Mayor Fred Dressel. Dressel said residents have long questioned the health impact of living so close to an airport. The mayor said concern ranges from jet exhaust to the black soot that covers homes, cars and pools.

Lonegan said the next step is setting up a formal agreement among the towns to fund the study. He said the coalition is seeking funding from the county.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, is expected to do its own environmental impact study with Rutgers University.

Additionally, Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn said he plans to reintroduce a bill called the Right to Know About Airport Pollution Act, which calls for studies about the impact of airports and changes to reduce pollution.

"For the past two years, I have been fighting to get such a study approved and funded at the federal level," Rothman said.

Coalition members said they are glad there is some action on the issue but emphasized that they still want to go forward with their own study.

"We don’t want to wait," Lonegan said. "It’s too critical and too important."

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