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Public Statements

Letter to Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior


Location: Washington, DC

Dear Secretary Salazar,

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me regarding the continued threat to aircraft safety posed by Canada Geese residing at Gateway National Recreation Area in New York, and for your leadership and attention to this issue.

As we discussed, I urge you to take action before the end of June to issue permits to remove 200 geese at the Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue landfills. Additionally, it is my understanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to issue a Record of Decision on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Bird Strike Hazard Reduction at John F. Kennedy International Airport by July 1. Once a Record of Decision is issued, I also urge you to immediately issue permits to begin the process of culling additional geese on the applicable National Park Service land before the end of the 2012 molting period.

Recent bird strikes on aircraft taking off from New York's major airports once again highlighted the urgency of this issue. Since the "Miracle on the Hudson" landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009, New Yorkers have been waiting for a comprehensive and long-term solution to the threat posed by Canada Geese residing near our airports. While I am dismayed that it has taken more than three years to complete the necessary review and analysis of alternatives, I am encouraged by the willingness of your Department and the other cooperating agencies to complete the environmental review process and begin implementation of the proposed action, including the culling of Canada Geese, before the conclusion of the 2012 molting period for Canada Geese.

I understand that culling of Canada Geese is one component of a comprehensive solution to the bird strike problem, and I am committed to working with your department, and all of the federal agencies involved, on the implementation of a variety of management activities, including lethal and non-lethal activities, to ensure that the safety of the flying public is protected in a way that is consistent with the mission of Gateway National Recreation Area and protects the environment, character, and natural beauty of Jamaica Bay.

Thank you for your consideration of this critical request, and I look forward to continuing to work with you on this and other issues of importance to New Yorkers.

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