CHICAGO – This week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will publicly distribute its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the proposed modernization of O’Hare International Airport, and is asking for public comment on its study.
“This O’Hare proposal is a priority for the FAA,” said Marion C. Blakey, FAA Administrator. “We will continue to adhere to environmental regulations and we are working to complete it as quickly as possible. Because of the FAA’s focused effort, we’ve been able to complete this Draft EIS a month earlier than scheduled.” The Draft EIS analyzes several environmental issues that may be affected by the proposed modernization and reasonable alternatives. They include: noise and land use, air quality, wetlands, land acquisition, historic properties, surface transportation, and construction impacts.
The Draft EIS does not offer any final decisions on the proposed O’Hare project and generally does not propose any mitigation measures for the environmental issues studied. It is one of the steps in the FAA’s comprehensive analysis of the City’s proposal and of various reasonable alternatives. After the FAA holds public hearings and reviews all comments, it will develop measures to mitigate the environmental impacts identified, based on whether the City’s proposal or an alternative is selected. These would be described in the Final EIS and the Record of Decision in September 2005.
The FAA is moving forward steadily and expects to complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement in July and the Record of Decision in September.“The FAA analysis has been very thorough and our process continues to be very open to the public,” Administrator Blakey said. “We want to encourage the public to give us their comments on the environmental issues that may affect this O’Hare modernization effort.”
Individuals and organizations are encouraged to submit their comments on the FAA’s draft environmental study during the comment period, Jan. 21 to March 23. The FAA will use the oral and written public comments it receives to further develop a Final Environmental Impact Statement.
The FAA also will host three public hearings next month to obtain comments on the Draft EIS. They will take place at the following locations:
- Tuesday, Feb. 22 – Avalon Banquets, 1905 E. Higgins Rd., Elk Grove Village, 2 pm to 9 pm.
- Wednesday, Feb. 23 – Waterford Conference Center, 933 S. Riverside Dr., Elmhurst, 2 pm to 9 pm.
- Thursday, Feb. 24 – White Eagle Banquet Halls, 6839 N. Milwaukee Ave., Niles, 2 pm to 9 pm.
During the public comment period, the FAA also will accept comments by fax at (847) 294-7046 and by e-mail at OMPEIS@faa.gov. Written comments may also be mailed to:
Michael W. MacMullen, Airports Environmental Program Manager
Federal Aviation Administration
Chicago Airports District Office
2300 Devon Ave.
Des Plaines, IL 60018
The public can view the FAA’s Draft EIS during regular business hours at 33 locations in Chicago and the suburbs. (The specific locations are on the attached list.)
For the past 18 months, the FAA also has made available two web sites to provide the public with early access to key information about the O’Hare project prior to the release of the Draft EIS. These websites, which include documents that the Draft EIS is based upon, are the FAA’s O’Hare EIS website, which can be found at www.ompeis.net and the FAA’s O’Hare Document Library file sharing site, which can be found at www.agl.faa.gov/OMP/. Currently, the FAA has posted nearly 7.5 million pages of documents about the O’Hare project on these two public web sites.
LOCATIONS FOR VIEWING THE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT:
- Arlington Heights Memorial Library
- Bellwood Public Library
- Bensenville Public Library
- Berkeley Public Library
- Bloomingdale Public Library
- College of DuPage Library, Glen Ellyn
- Des Plaines Public Library
- Eisenhower Public Library, Harwood Heights
- Elk Grove Village Public Library
- Elmhurst Public Library
- Elmwood Park Public Library
- Franklin Park Public Library
- Glendale Heights Library
- Glenview Public Library
- Harold Washington Library, Chicago
- Hoffman Estates Library
- Itasca Community Library
- Lombard Public Library
- Maywood Public Library
- Melrose Park Public Library
- Morton Grove Public Library
- Mount Prospect Public Library
- Niles Public Library
- Northlake Public Library
- Oak Park Public Library
- Oakton Community College Library, Des Plaines
- Park Ridge Public Library
- River Forest Public Library
- River Grove Public Library
- Schaumburg Township District Library
- Schiller Park Public Library
- Villa Park Public Library
- Wood Dale Public Library