There are compelling reasons for closing the airport immediately.
- The vast majority of aviation income benefits out-of-state charter and air taxi operators.
- Only a handful of local businesses benefit from airport operations and the majority of their operations are seasonal, providing very few full-time jobs year round.
- Income derived from airport-occupied land and structures (even from leases from non-aviation related businesses) goes directly to a dedicated airport fund and cannot be used for anything other than airport maintenance and administration, for as long as the property is used as an airport.
The Town's general budget, as well as all residents of the Town of East Hampton, would greatly benefit from reasonable, socially-sensible, and environmentally-friendly uses of the 628 acres currently occupied by the noisy, polluting East Hampton Airport.
Over the coming months, we will be examining alternative uses of the 628 acres of land, and proposing ways in which the commercially and institutionally zoned land can produce more income from clean/green businesses which will employ more year-round workers, as well as other seasonal and part-time workers.
There are many opportunities for good stewardship of this valuable land which belongs to the Town of East Hampton and it should be transformed for the benefit of all residents.
Where the jobs are
Despite misinformation circulated by aviation proponents, there are few aviation jobs at KHTO, fewer still year round. Most of the jobs on airport property are with small businesses which rent space in the structures located in the Industrial Park. Several non-profit groups also lease space on town-owned property on Industrial Road. Currently, all income from those leases must be used for aviation. The Town does not benefit from any income on airport property, not even from non-aviation related leases.
Other existing structures, currently used for aviation, could be redesigned to accommodate more local businesses which struggle to find affordable rents in the Town of East Hampton. These are the businesses which bring jobs, year-round, full-time jobs with benefits for their workers. When the property is no longer used as an airport, the Town's general budget would hugely benefit from all income from leased space on Town-owned property.
East Hampton Airport has little activity most of the year; a wasted resource in a community clamoring for affordable rents in commercially-zoned space.
Dangers to our health and the environment
Airplane exhaust contains a variety of air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
Many of these particles of pollution are tiny, smaller even than the width of a human hair.
Scientists know it is the especially small particulate matter that is the main culprit in human health effects, especially since the particulates can become wedged deep in the lung and possibly enter the bloodstream.
Of particular concern is avgas, the fuel used in propeller driven planes, which contains lead. Lead is toxic to all life, and is particularly dangerous to children under five years of age. Lead was removed from automobile fuel during the 1970s but it is still widely used in aviation fuel in the U.S. Both fixed base operators at KHTO sell avgas in addition to jet fuel. At the very least, they should be selling only alternative fuels to avgas, which are now available.
Health Effects of Aircraft Noise
There can be health related consequences of exposure to community noise. For example:
-- cardiovascular effects that may arise as a consequence of stress caused by noise;
-- sleep disturbance, where sleep patterns are disturbed and conscious and premature awakenings may occur;
-- noise related annoyance that can cause negative emotions;
-- cognitive impairment in children, which can lead to a subsequent impairment in the quality of life.
Economy . Environment . Health . Public Safety
Observations at KHTO during the 2016 season revealed unsafe conditions. In one incident, three trucks containing highly inflammable jet fuel were parked alongside the terminal, in front of the Observation Patio, forcing disembarking and embarking passengers to walk within a few feet of the trucks.
Additionally, an employee of Sound Aircraft Services intentionally placed a cell phone on the rear of one of the fuel trucks. Any accident, although statistically a fairly low possibility, had the potential to become a conflagration. (Cell phone batteries are prone to heat and combustion.)
Also observed were unaccompanied youngsters running onto the tarmac to greet disembarking passengers. No airport personnel were present to prevent the youngsters gaining access to what was clearly a potentially dangerous area.
Our sole source aquifer and our drinking water
The airport sits atop a sole source aquifer which provides drinking water to the entire East End. The Environmental Protection Agency defines a sole source aquifer as follows:
Aquifer designation is one tool to protect drinking water supplies in areas with few or no alternative sources to the ground water resource, and where if contamination occurred, using an alternative source would be extremely expensive.
EPA defines a sole or principal source aquifer as one which supplies at least fifty percent (50%) of the drinking water consumed in the area overlying the aquifer. These areas can have no alternative drinking water source(s) which could physically, legally, and economically supply all those who depend upon the aquifer for drinking water. For convenience, all designated sole or principal source aquifers are referred to as "sole source aquifers" (SSA). Source:
March 6th, 2017 (courtesy East Hampton Star/Taylor Vecsey):
NY state has launched a $1.5 million program enabling residents to test for lead in their drinking water, free of charge.
The New York State Department of Health announced the pilot program last week. Residents whose drinking water comes from either private wells or a public water source have access to this testing to protect their health.
Lead is a toxic metal that is particularly harmful to the developing brain and nervous system of children under 6, health officials said.
Link to FREE NY State Water testing program:
Photos: Say NO to KHTO