Members of the Bayswater Blast Fence Committee (BFC) have contracted with Baystate Environmental Consultants of East Longmeadow, MA to further study the Massachusetts Port Authority's analysis related to the blast fence located at the end of Runway 4L/22R. After meeting with local elected officials, Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham agreed that Massport would fund an independent technical consultant for the community to review noise analysis.
"We want East Boston residents to understand the facts about the blast fence and ensure that this continue to be an open process," said Buckingham. "Ultimately, we must all work together to make a Logan a safer airport for our passengers and those who work here."
The BFC selected Baystate Environmental Consultants based on their expertise in reviewing MEPA documents as they relate to airport projects. Baystate Environmental Consultants has never worked for Massport and is currently not under contract with either the FAA or the NTSB.
The BFC is comprised of nine local residents with the goal of verifying the Environmental Notification Form (ENF) filed by Massport, working out a legally binding commitment with Massport to maintain the existing noise rules, and considering a mitigation program.
In addition, on Thursday, January 4, 2001 MEPA held a consultation hearing on the blast fence as part of the ongoing community process and in keeping with regulations governing the filing of an ENF. Various community residents attended the meeting as well as members of the BFC, officials from Baystate Environmental Consultants, and representatives from local elected officials. Massport voluntarily filed the ENF on the blast fence to provide a comprehensive opportunity for community review. Though the original comment period was extended from 30 days to 45 days, Massport has requested of MEPA another extension. The public comment period will now close on February 9, 2001.
Prior to the filing Massport conducted eight community briefings on the blast fence to share information with local residents and listen to proposals for mitigation. From those meetings, Massport has agreed to enter into a legal contract with the community to maintain the existing airport noise rules governing arrivals on 22R and departures on 4L, and committed $4 million to fund civic and environmental programs as proposed by the BFC. The committee has also requested that Massport consider constructing a runway safety end on 22R, following the removal of the fence.
Massport's safety concerns about the blast fence were heightened by several aircraft accidents that occurred in the recent past including a number resulting in fatalities. Massport studies have shown the benefits of the blast fence to the Bayswater community are very minimal and better results could be achieved through mitigation.