One of the reasons we moved to the Hamptons was because we wanted to live in place of natural beauty, with clean air and water, free from pollution. We wanted to live in a place that placed a high value on conservation and the environment. Especially when we see the terrifying effects of global warming around the world, we want to know that our local leaders are doing all they can to keep us safe.
Yet, here on the East End, we are debating the merits of keeping open a busy airport in East Hampton that benefits less than 1% of our population, and I suspect many of those are not full-time residents. The detrimental effects caused by the excessive carbon footprint of aircraft and the leaded fuel emissions that rain down on all of us, polluting our air and threatening our aquifers, affects ALL of us who live here.
I understand that the Town of East Hampton has declared a climate emergency. Why isn’t this the continued operation of this airport considered a climate emergency, given the damage it is causing our environment?
I believe the airport should be closed, and the land be used for benign purposes that benefit the majority of residents. This could include solar fields, parks and ball fields.
At a minimum, however, the Town of East Hampton should at least eliminate all helicopters, sea places, jets and any craft that uses leaded fuel. At least return the airport to its original intended use – for small privately owned hobby aircraft.
The status quo is unacceptable. The Town of East Hampton must get its priorities in order and do the right thing, not just for the residents of East Hampton, but for all Long Island residents who are impacted by the busy air traffic. We must work together to combat pollution and preserve our clean air and water.
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
Photography: Jason Leung, Jon Tyson