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[Teterboro Airport Index]

The Record, Thursday, April 5, 2001

Teterboro air tests to begin soon

Staff Writer

CARLSTADT -- Scientists will begin a study this month to determine if people living near Teterboro Airport are inhaling harmful pollutants, officials said Wednesday.

Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan said he signed a contract this week with Environ International Corp. on behalf of the Coalition of Public Safety, the 12-town group formed in November to reduce noise and air pollution coming from the airport.

Lonegan, who chairs the group, said Environ scientists will scout locations to install air monitors and that he expects the results to be available in July. Some fear the pollution from planes could cause problems such as cancer and birth defects.

"This is the most important health issue facing southern Bergen County that we as governmental officials can have an impact on," Lonegan said.

He said the focus on health represents a new strategy in the fight to make Teterboro a less-obtrusive neighbor. Residents have complained about the noise for years and in recent months have said it has gotten worse.

Although Lonegan said the study could be used as leverage to get flight patterns changed or reduce air traffic, he added, "We're hoping that it will unveil no problem."

Ridgefield Park Commissioner John Anlian said focusing on the health impacts "might be another way of accomplishing what we want to accomplish and that is an overall reduction of noise and air pollution. Most people recognize we're never going to eliminate Teterboro Airport completely. As long as the impact from Teterboro can be limited, then I think all the neighboring towns will benefit."

Teterboro has its supporters. The New Jersey Aviation Association, which promotes the airport industry, has said Teterboro produces more than $459 million annually for Bergen County, but no one could be reached for comment about the study.

So far, seven towns -- South Hackensack, Carlstadt, Bogota, Hasbrouck Heights, Little Ferry, and Moonachie -- have contributed $5,000 each to pay for the study, which is not to exceed $42,000, said Carlstadt Councilman Craig Lahullier, who co-chairs the committee, which meets monthly here.

"We have $35,000 in hand," Lahullier said. "We have enough to do the study."

Municipal officials from Rutherford, Hackensack, and Teterboro said money for the study is set aside in their budgets. East Rutherford and Wood-Ridge are expected to contribute.

Ridgefield Park hasn't decided.

"We have no specific problem [with a study]," Anlian said. "We want just to get a little more detail."

Anlian, who said he was planning on attending Wednesday's coalition meeting, said he expects the commissioners to discuss the matter tonight at their 7:30 p.m. caucus meeting.

Teaneck declined to fund the study, but Mayor Paul Ostrow said that doesn't preclude the township from future funding or mean the community is giving up on the cause.

"We are actively working with local, state, and federal authorities to try to abate some of the problems," he said.


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