© Copyright 2001 The Boston Herald and Herald Interactive Advertising Systems, Inc.

Environmental boss refuses to rethink runway
by Ellen J. Silberman / Saturday, December 22, 2001

State officials yesterday rejected Mayor Thomas M. Menino's call to re-examine Logan International Airport's proposed new runway in light of post-Sept. 11 reductions in airplane traffic and revenues.

Environmental Secretary Robert Durand, who approved the runway project in June, found there was no reason to reopen his review, saying fewer flights mean less potential environmental damage - not more.

``In order to reopen (the review) there would have to be some increase in the impacts,'' said Durand's spokesman Doug Pizzi.

Environmental officials also said Menino shouldn't worry about Massport's tight finances keeping the agency from paying for environmental mitigation.

``That's a (court) enforceable document,'' Pizzi said of the mitigation spelled out in the environmental OK.

In a letter to Menino's environment department chief Antonia M. Pollack, state environmental officials made it clear that it was up to Massport - not the city - to decide whether they still needed the runway.

Despite the admonishment, Pollack said she would continue to fight the runway, which is staunchly opposed by Massport's East Boston neighbors.

``We're incredibly disappointed in what the secretary has decided. We will continue to explore all of our options,'' Pollack said.

Menino last week also sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration chief Jane Garvey asking her to halt the project. Garvey has not yet replied to Menino's plea.

Menino reopened his fight against the runway just days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, saying the reduction in air traffic was cutting flight delays without it.

Massport officials said that even with the lighter airline schedules, Logan still needs the new runway to cut down delays when northwest winds whip through the airport.

Northwest winds delayed airplanes Tuesday, the day after Menino asked Durand to shut down the project, said Massport spokesman Jose Juves.

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