To the Editor:
It was alarming to read in the Aug. 13 Mount Desert Islander regarding the proposed Goose Cove oyster farm that the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Army Corps of Engineers and the FAA itself, are ignoring the FAA’s advisory against aquaculture within five miles of an airport runway.
They also seem to be actively avoiding any discussion with the Hancock County commissioners and the town of Trenton selectmen, both of which are on record as being unanimously opposed to this threat to community safety.
If you look at the approach path to the Bar Harbor Airport, the 5,000 oyster cages will be directly under it with aircraft flying below 500 feet as they come in for a landing. Clearly, sea birds fly higher than that when circling an attractive potential meal below, which is why the FAA said not to have these operations near an airport. A bird strike on an airplane on this approach path could easily cause the plane to go off course and crash into a nearby home, business, campground or the Trenton Elementary School which sits across Route 3 from the runway.
Mainers are very good common sense thinkers. The people in areas near the airport don’t see much common sense being applied here. With all of the shoreline along the Maine coast, why put the oyster farm where it will pose the greatest threat to life and property? I don’t hear the critics saying aquaculture is a bad thing. Let’s just use our common sense and put the oyster farm at least five miles from the airport.
I can’t quite understand why Warren Pettegrow is pushing forward with the oyster farm in the face of massive local opposition. Some supporters seem totally dismissive of the flight safety hazard that his operation would bring to Trenton. Saying bird strikes on aircraft will not be a problem is like saying that smoking while pumping gas probably won’t cause an explosion.
My suggestion is that the aquaculture application be amended and relocated at a site at least five miles from the airport. What can be more important than the lives of pilots, passengers, Trenton residents, school children and people passing by?