To the Editor:
We are constantly reminded that balance is the chief challenge of modern life. This is equally true in the stewardship of our communities, the environment and essential natural resources.
The all-volunteer Trenton Threatened Skies (TTS) www.trentonthreatenedskies.com has devoted years to monitoring, documenting, and questioning the ambitious expansion plans at the Trenton-Mercer Airport.
Most of us active in TTS are absolutely not opposed to the modernization of this regional airport.
We are, however, concerned about accountability and the transparency of a process that impacts us. We must be able to assure our families and our neighbors that ambitious expansion does not threaten the natural environment, public health, financial stability, property values and quality of life of this very special region.
Initiatives like the Trenton-Mercer Airport expansion plan must be given the most rigorous public review. Beyond the promises of jobs and economic growth, which are arguable at best, we must put the environmental health and safety of this community above all other considerations.
Trenton-Mercer Airport plans are taking on a frightening environmental and public health dimension that could impact the entire Central NJ region with devastating contamination to local groundwater, wetlands and the Delaware River Watershed.
A new lawsuit by the NJ DEP against the United States Government for contamination at the Naval Air Warfare Center Trenton (NAWC) SuperFund site which adjoins and is partially owned by the Trenton Mercer Airport, sheds new light on the seriousness of this environmental and public health threat. The DEP lawsuit is based on the imminent risk posed by highly toxic PFOA and PFOS chemicals used and stored at the now closed NAWC facility.
These PFOA/PFOS “forever chemicals” don’t break down in nature and slowly accumulate in the body. They have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer in humans and other adverse health effects including immune disorders, thyroid dysfunctions, liver problems and delayed puberty. These dangerous compounds migrate from the soil into the ground and surface water and from there into public and private water supplies.
Moreover, TTS is opposed to the Trenton-Mercer Airport moving forward with a program of segmented expansion approvals, expressly designed to skirt NJ DEP and EPA regulatory oversight. This short-sighted strategy is not just politically risky; it is a commercially motivated gamble that could destroy the health, property values, and quality of life of Mercer County residents for generations to come.
This Trojan Horse airport expansion plan promises jobs and economic growth but we have no idea what’s inside. The entire plan must be thoroughly reviewed to prevent unintended consequences that could forever alter the region’s way of life.
TTS demands that the Trenton-Mercer Airport submit a full and comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before proceeding with expansion plans. This is the bare minimum of accountability we citizens of the region deserve.
To help assure the future safety and prosperity of Mercer County please visit www.trentonthreatenedskies.com and sign our online petition demanding the EIS on the airport expansion plans immediately!
Robin R. Karpf, MD
Resident of North Lawrence Township, NJ
Officer of the Trenton Threatened Skies 501(c)(3) community advocacy group