BOSTON-In a highly unusual move, the city has asked the state’s environmental office to reconsider its decision to approve the building of a controversial new runway at Logan International Airport here in light of the Sept. 11 attacks and the changes they have wrought upon the airport.”The changes that have occurred suggest that additional environmental review is necessary,” writes Antonia M. Pollak, the city’s environmental director in a letter to state environmental director Robert Durand. “The Massachusetts Port Authority that exists today is not the same one that existed on Sept. 11. Logan Airport is not the same and it will not function in the same way.”In the letter, the city contends that the changes to the aviation industry in general and at Logan impact the original rationale for the project. The letter also states that the economic impact of these changes on Massport could impact its ability to undertake the environmental mitigation necessary to proceed with the runway.Doug Pizzi, spokesperson for Durand tells GlobeSt.com “we got the letter and we’re looking at it.” According to state regulations, in order for Durand to overturn his decision Massport would have to say it could not do the environmental mitigations or it would have to do nothing for three years. The city does cite a case in which an environmental impact statement was overturned, a case that Pizzi says “would have to be looked at.”City Mayor Thomas M. Menino also wrote to Jane Garvey, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, requesting that the agency take into account the events of Sept. 11 in its environmental review process for the proposed runway. The FAA is currently nearly finished with its review of the runway proposal. “I urge the FAA, in evaluating Massport’s project, to assist the city of Boston in protecting its residents by carefully considering the changes that have occurred in aviation since Sept. 11th,” writes Menino in the letter.But Jose Juves, spokesperson for Massport points out that in 1987, when the FAA first identified the need for a new runway, the travel numbers then were what they are at now, since the terror attacks. “It seems odd after 10 years of environmental analysis, to turn back the clock at this point,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Juves also notes that the new runway is not a capacity issue but rather one of enhancing efficiency during northwestern winds. His office is not concerned, he says, that Durand will take this seriously.
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