Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Safety be damned!

Safety concerns regarding the proposed Central Texas Airport have been a recurring theme on this blog and elsewhere in the media. In addition, many of the comments responding to the CTA’s Permit Application to the USACE highlighted the inherent dangers of not only building an airport on the banks of the Colorado River but on top of that, constructing a permanent elevation pond only 1000 feet from the runway.

Well the Corps took our collective concern to heart. Items 14 and 15 of the October 25, 2011 meeting discussed safety and wildlife hazard issues related to the proposed Central Texas Airport. The Corps tried their best but encountered an immovable (and clueless) developer. Here’s a summary of the exchange:

[The Corps] explained that there needs to be a discussing [sic] on why the pond would not create a hazardous wildlife attractant. She explained that in our public interest review we need to address this issue. They need to explain why there is a need for a constant pool. Could do a small dry dam and eliminate the wildlife hazard.

The CTA’s response provides stunning insight into the arrogance and self-interest of the developer. The safety issue is something that can be conveniently side-stepped by avoiding FAA regulation (due to the CTA’s private funding status). This attitude will be no surprise to those familiar with the CTA issue but it’s still a shock to see it so bluntly stated:

CTA stated that the pool was for aesthetics and irrigation and that it should not be a concern because it is not an FAA project.

And there you have it. Aesthetics is their primary concern and safety be damned! How’s that for a shining moral compass?!

After that the Corps tried once more:

[The Corps] stated that we still have concerns because it is still a public safety issue. They should consider a dry detention basin.

The Hazardous Wildlife Attractants section on page 28 of the revised EID is a twisted sleight-of-hand response to the Corps well-founded concerns. Quack, quack provides a comprehensive analysis of that section. And the Detention Pond Layout included in Appendix A of the Compensatory Mitigation Plan can be seen in More quackery.

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