Friday, October 29, 2010
Commissioners Court: Airport foes rally at court
By Mike Blackwell
October 29, 2010
Fourteen men and women – all opposed to the proposed 381 Agreement between Bastrop County and the Central Texas Airport – spoke during the citizens comments portion of the Bastrop County Commissioners Court meeting Monday.
The citizens expressed concerns ranging from a lack of communication about the project from the airport’s developers, Carpenter & Associates, to the safety of those whose homes or schools fall within the flight zone of the airport. Several in the group also suggested the site violates certain Federal Aviation Administration requirements.
“We have information that places the proposed site entirely within a FAA Wildlife Hazard Zone that requires a minimum separation of 10,000 feet to five miles for the safe operation of jet aircraft near the Colorado River which is frequented by large birds, namely geese, ducks, eagles, and others,” Tom Thompson read from a prepared statement. “We also have information that on-site drainage construction required by FEMA will produce even more habitat for large avian species and that constructing these facilities within the Airport Operating Area is in direct violation of FAA ‘Advisory Circular, #150/5200-33D, Hazardous Wildlife Attractants In or Near Airports.’”
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Commissioners Court ‘follies’ continue to get better and better.
On Monday, 10/25, the Courts agenda included a ‘Discussion and possible action,’ dealing with Bastrop County’s potential nonattainment designation for Ozone standards.
A letter from Judge McDonald addressed to Ms. Margie McAllister of the TCEQ, was touting Bastrop County’s participation in several voluntary pollution reduction programs, such as 1-Hour and 8-Hour Ozone Flex Plans, and The early Action Compact.
The letter continued on to say, “there are few additional things, if any, that Bastrop County could implement to control emissions sources. Reductions in Bastrop County’s Ozone levels will ultimately need to come from a cleaner fleet of cars in the United States and a reduction in transport emissions.”
Now wait a damn minute!
How does putting a huge airport and industrial complex in the Colorado River basin help with Bastrop County’s plans to “control” emissions?
It’ll make them worse, much, much worse.
Jet aircraft produce vast amounts of particulate and gas pollutants.
The “Green” industries planned for “Eco-Merge” may produce energy saving devices, but may produce much more pollution and emissions than products of older technology.
Once again, did the Court research what they were supporting before they gave their OK?
Doesn’t look like they did.
It’s obvious that one thing is missing in our Commissioners Court.
An ability to see the big picture and connect the dots of cause and effect . . .
The Court continues to circle the wagons and recite the mantra that there won’t be any cargo traffic or planes as large as a 737 at the proposed Central Texas Airport. Well, PROVE IT!
The following questions are being asked of every member of the Court including the Judge. Since they all voted on the 381 Agreement you’d think they would have the answer at their fingertips. Guess we’ll find out.
Commissioners, please show us EXACTLY where in the 381 Agreement:
1. cargo traffic has been prohibited.
2. aircraft of up to 100 tons - like a 737 for example - have been prohibited from landing at this airport.
We would be happy to move on from this very technical point if the Court can provide a reference to the specific passages in the 381 that unequivocally answer those questions. We want definitive black and white evidence, not a conclusion drawn from inference or extrapolation or wishful thinking.
Sorry, we’re not gonna take it on faith. The stakes are too high.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Airport fallout: critics blast county leaders
By Davis McAuley
October 25th, 2010
Bastrop, Tx–A dozen-odd angry Bastrop County residents spent most of an hour Monday berating county commissioners and the judge for encouraging the development of a private general aviation airport and associated industrial projects on more than 1,000 acres west of Bastrop.
One after another they took the podium at a regular meeting of commissioners during a “citizens comment” section of the agenda. Some said they felt betrayed by the county signing a development pact for the project with veteran developer James Carpenter of Carpenter & Associates who has publicly pushed his plans for more than 18 months.
Others accused commissioners of “selling out” to developer interests. Many called for a public hearing on the airport and associated development projects. Some called for the development agreement to be scrapped outright.
Monday’s outpouring of anger was prompted in part by an announcement by Carpenter in Austin on Oct. 19 that four business ventures, including the conglomerate Toshiba,have made agreements to locate new facilities near the proposed airport.
In April 2009 Carpenter first laid out the project at a public meeting before commissioners and a hostile crowd which packed the meeting room. At the time County Judge Ronnie McDonald said residents would be able to pose questions about the plans at a future public session.
But no such session took place before commissioners approved a development agreement with Carpenter earlier this year, to the consternation of some critics. A key provision of the pact calls for Carpenter to invest a minimum of $150 million before the project is eligible for a rebate of 75 percent of county property taxes on the site and improvements for 30 years. Property taxes assessed by school districts and other taxing jurisdictions are not affected.
Commissioners did not respond to the critics during Monday’s meeting, nor did they offer any defense of the project or the deal with Carpenter.
Outside the meeting, however, some of them questioned whether Carpenter will be able to meet the $150 million investment threshold. At the Oct. 19 announcement in Austin, Carpenter said he hopes to begin construction later this year.
Monday, October 25, 2010
StopCTA presented these comments to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court on October 25, 2010 during the Citizens’ Comments period.
I’d like to begin by wishing good morning to Carpenter & Associates indispensable ‘financial partners’.
Today’s lesson is ‘Reading 101′.
You’re probably all familiar with the famous line:
“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate . . .”
Well, I think what we’ve got here in Bastrop County is a failure to read and understand the 381 Agreement. Want to raise your hand if you actually did read it? [Surprisingly, all Commissioners raised their hands.]
1. Members of the Court insist that there will be no cargo flights at the airport yet CARGO is not mentioned ONCE in the 381.
2. Members of the Court insist that there won’t be any 737s landing there. Yet the plans show a 7200′ runway which is long enough to land a plane of that size. And the only limitation on aircraft size in the 381 is for PASSENGER planes.
In the law, what is not specifically prohibited is permitted. The 381 is leakier than a dike in Amsterdam and you just can’t see it.
But, whether you did or didn’t read the 381 is really beside the point because the Court’s legal team was paid to vet this ‘IED’. In Bastrop County that means ‘INTENTIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER‘.
3. Carpenter & Associates claimed at their dog and pony show last week that they will follow all FAA rules and regulations. If that’s true, why did their attorneys make sure the 381 exempts the proposed Central Texas Airport from the 14CFR, Part 139 rules which relate to safe operation of aircraft?
And can you please explain how if your legal team vetted the 381, they do not have any records relating to these rules on file? Your legal team needs to be held accountable for failing the Court and the people of Bastrop County.
One of the 14 detailed sections of these rules covers Wildlife Hazard management. An Advisory Circular in this section recommends that jet engine aircraft should not operate within 10,000′ of a natural or created bird-rich habitat. Well guess what! The entire proposed Central Texas Airport site falls within a Wildlife Hazard Zone endangering those in the air and on the ground. Think Hudson river Bastrop style.
The 381 traded the peace and safety of Bastrop County citizens for the financial interests of a corporate speculator. What were you thinking? At a minimum, it needs extensive triage. An even better idea would be to shred it and forget it.
As our elected representatives you should be on OUR side. But with this closed door deal, you have betrayed the promise of Democracy and you have betrayed the good people of this county as well. SHAME ON YOU!!!!