MAY 12, 2002
BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
Nine Bergen County towns have filed suit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over long-standing concerns about pollution from Teterboro Airport. The towns suing are Bogota, Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Little Ferry, Rutherford, Wood-Ridge, Hackensack, South Hackensack, and Hasbrouck Heights.
The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, accuses the bi-state agency of violating air and noise pollution standards at Teterboro, as well as rules for preparing environmental statements. A study commissioned by the towns found that the airport is emitting pollutants that could cause illness, their lawyers said.
The suit was not unexpected. Municipal officials have announced for months that it would be coming. A Port Authority spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday, but the agency has portrayed itself as a good neighbor. In March the authority imposed restrictions that prevent the noisiest planes from using the airport.
The suit, referring to a multimillion-dollar capital campaign to improve the airport, seeks to stop site work until the airport provides a detailed schedule of all upgrades made since 1970 and what is planned for the next 20 years.
Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan said municipalities are increasingly frustrated over what they see as the Port Authority's lack of attention to local concerns. "This is really big government gone wild," Lonegan said. "They just do whatever they want."